Cape Town - Proteas captain,
Hashim Amla, says it is time his team put in the performances befitting a No.1
ranked side when they take on India in the third Freedom Series Test match at
the Vidharbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Nagpur on Wednesday. A win
for the Proteas will not only keep the series alive heading into the last match
in Delhi next week, but will also preserve the Proteas’ nine-year unbeaten
record away from home.
“We haven’t played our best
Test cricket,” Amla said to the media in Nagpur on Tuesday. “If you look back
to Mohali, I’d say we were in the game for three innings of the four. If India
got bowled out for 200 and us for 187 it’s a fair reflection that the game was
well poised up until the last day, which we didn’t do too well in.
“On the first day of the last
Test we didn’t bat well at all so we haven’t put in free-flowing Test cricket
performances that we are used to. It will be great for a start if in Nagpur we
can get on to the field and put in the performances that the South African team
is used to.”
Amla commended his squad’s
focus and energy in their preparation leading up to the match, after a
frustrating period of down time brought on by the rain in Bengaluru. The dry
conditions at the VCA Stadium could open up the possibility of playing the
extra spin option, but Amla still banked on his pace resources despite Dale
Steyn’s unavailability after failing a fitness test.
“Though the spinners have
taken most of the wickets on the sub-continent, but Dale’s record here is
phenomenal, there is nobody better than him,” Amla said in praise. “The seamers
who are going to play definitely have a role and certainly our spinners are
growing and getting better and better.
“We are 1-0 down so it is
certainly a must-win match for us to stay in the series,” Amla said. “It does
allow us to play with risk but that is the mentality that we came here with, we
came here to win the series. In the first match we had five frontline bowlers
and for me that’s an attacking option, we need to take 20 wickets to win the