Johannesburg - While their batting styles may be totally different, it could be the key to their successful partnerships, Hashim Amla said of his world-record stand with AB de Villiers on Sunday.
“AB can hit sixes over cover, off the back foot, while I only got the one over long-off, so there are slight differences,” Amla said after he and the Proteas one-day captain both scored centuries in South Africa’s 34-run victory over Pakistan in Johannesburg on Sunday.
“We score in slightly different areas and keep each other motivated so maybe that’s why we’ve had a few good partnerships together.
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"Besides the obvious differences in our style - I am more classical and AB is more innovative - we complement each other when we’re batting.”
The pair, who came together when South Africa were on 42 for two, initially broke their own South African third-wicket partnership record and then went on to set a new world best.
Their 238-run stand came off 194 deliveries and included 18 fours and four sixes. The previous record of 237 was held by India’s Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, set in 1999 against Kenya.
Amla said their success was due to a combination of factors, including the way they rotated the strike and had an unspoken understanding between themselves.
“I always enjoy batting with AB because when he comes in, there is a lot of energy and you know the game will move forward.
“So I try to do my thing - get off strike and look for the gaps -- and AB does the same, so with that kind of game plan, you can get a good partnership going and we’ve managed to do it a few times.”
On his way to making 122, Amla was not without luck. He was given out lbw before there was a run on the board and, after a discussion with fellow opening batsman Graeme Smith, he called for a review. The HawkEye system showed the ball had just pitched just outside leg stump.
“I’ve always been a supporter of the Decision Review System and I’m just glad Graeme insisted we review it as he was sure it had pitched outside leg,” Amla said.
“I had a feeling, but I wasn’t sure, so fortunately the right decision was made at the end of the day.”
Amla looked forward to the fourth ODI in Durban on Thursday, with the hosts leading the five-match series 2-1, and expected the scores to be lower than those on the Highveld.
“It’s a day game so I’m not sure if it will swing as much but it’s usually a good wicket," he said.
“If it turns, then the Pakistan spinners come into play, but we’ve played them on turning tracks and hopefully we will get a good start and post a good total.”