• Amla: We tried our best

    Hashim Amla has defended South Africa’s batting approach in the second innings after they failed to bat out five sessions in trying to draw the fourth Test against India.

    Amla had the following to say at the post-match press conference after South Africa lost by 337 runs in New Delhi.

    If they believed they could draw the Test
    ‘At lunch time, when we were three down, we definitely believed that we could still make it. We knew the last hour in the last session was going to be difficult especially if you lose one or two more wickets. We tried our best. AB de Villiers did an exceptional job to try and hold the game together for us, but unfortunately we couldn’t go as far as we wanted to.’

    On the batting approach
    ‘I don’t think anyone gave us a chance to chase 480. It’s a pretty daunting target especially if you weigh it up with five sessions to bat. Having come close to that before in the past we felt that was the best way to save the game for us. It would have been easy for our batsmen to just go out there and have some fun and get some runs under their belts, but that gains nothing, especially when you are playing for your team and your country and trying to save a Test match. So if the target had been a bit lower certainly we would have tried to at least get a victory under our belt.
    ‘Nobody wants to block everything. You want to score runs, that is why you’re a batsman, but the need at the time was for us to try and bat as long as we can and take as many risky shots out of the equation to try and draw the game. To do that is quite difficult, but when it’s done you appreciate the determination someone like AB showed. We tried to play cricket that benefitted our team and our country.’

    What happened after tea
    ‘You’re going to lose wickets here and there. It wasn’t a case of guys throwing their wickets away. The plan was pretty clear. If a guy gets out he gets out. As long as you commit to the team’s goal. That happened. The last session on day five playing in India is always going to be difficult for any batting team.’

    ‘Our bowling has been exceptional on this tour. For me it’s been the shining light to see Morne lead the attack in the absence of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander. He was exceptional and bowled some of the best spells in the subcontinent that I have seen. The way Kyle Abbott came in and got a five-for in his opportunity; Kagiso Rabada bowled well when he played and our spinners did the job so I’m very happy with the way our bowling responded in these conditions. Those are the main positives going into the England series.’

    On his own form
    ‘As a captain you always want to lead from the front. Not being able to score runs in this series was disappointing for me. I think as a batting unit we just didn’t manage to get the runs on the board. I’m not going to over analyse my performances. I’ll just focus on my training and keep on trying to get better.’

    On Temba Bavuma opening the batting
    ‘I think Temba is an option up in the order. The way he batted in this Test he looked very solid. Obviously Stiaan didn’t do as well as he would have liked, but Temba is an option and he looked very good.’

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