• Amla: England have an edge

    Hashim Amla has admitted that England boast a better balance to their line-up which has given them the edge over South Africa in the ODI series so far.

    The Proteas are trailing England 0-2 in the five-match series with Amla describing the next three games as ‘finals’.

    ‘I know there’s been a lot of chat about having five frontline bowlers,’ Amla said ahead of Tuesday’s third ODI.

    ‘I think JP [Duminy] and Fudgie [Farhaan Behardien] have tried their best to contain as many runs as they can, but we know England have a team who bats very deep. That allows the them to attack right through the game. If they do lose a wicket here and there and even though they do have a few players who they bat around, because they bat until No 10 at least they have a bit of cushion to keep going and that makes it a well-balanced team. Maybe in that respect, they’ve edged us a little bit.

    ‘AB’s tried to juggle it as best he can,’ Amla said. ‘I’m not sure what they’ve decided for the game, certainly having five frontline bowlers in this day and age with the flat wickets that we have come across, I think especially in the first game, certainly does push an argument for that.

    ‘It’s important I get runs every game. We’ve had seven batters for a long time and it’s been very important for those seven batters to take responsibility and score the runs for the team and not leave it for No 8, 9 and 10 and 11.’

    Amla said losing the ODI series would be a setback for the team, but he was confident that South Africa could turn things around, starting on Tuesday at Centurion.

    ‘We have three finals in a row. Tuesdayis the first one we have to knock off but we have to play the best cricket that we can play.’

    If England win the series, it will be the first time since 2002 that the Proteas have lost a Test and an ODI series of a bilateral tour.

    ‘Losing the Test matches was a blow,’ Amla said. ‘We had a few setbacks with injuries and a few other things, we didn’t play our best Test cricket. Similarly in one-day cricket we haven’t performed this series, it would be a blow for us to not win this series. At the moment we are not thinking about it, for us our focus is on the next match. If we win this match, get some momentum for the next one and then hopefully win the one in Cape Town. That is how we are envisioning our progress from here.’

    Amla also gave his backing to Neil McKenzie becoming the new batting consultant for Cricket South Africa.

    ‘I think Neil’s name was in the hat from what I hear the guys were talking about. I’ve played with Neil on many occasions and always have very good memories; he was an excellent batter with a great cricketing brain. If he’s the guy who’s joining us then it would be fantastic. Everybody in the team would be very excited.’

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