Hashim Amla says he and Dean Elgar had to ‘dig in’ against a quality Australian attack when they scored just 43 runs in the afternoon session of day two.
The two came under criticism from commentators and fans as they laboured through the session, moving from 110-2 at lunch to 153-2 in 26 overs.
‘They were bowling really well for the whole session, and the ball was reversing well,’ he said. ‘And when it reverses, it starts to nip around, too. We were trying to play as straight as possible and keep it tight. It was important not to lose any wickets.
‘It was a tough day of Test cricket. I think that those who love Test cricket will appreciate the quality of the bowling.
‘We did battle a bit, which makes AB’s innings all the more special. It is always wonderful to watch him bat, preferably from the other end,’ said Amla with a wry smile. ‘He just makes it look so easy.’
De Villiers was unbeaten on 74 off 81 balls at the close.
The South Africans may not have been in such a position had Amla not ignored Elgar’s advice when he was rapped on the pads when on seven.
‘The umpire thought it was out and Dean was convinced it was out, but I thought I had an inside edge, so I reviewed. Then I saw on the replay there was no inside edge, and I was a bit worried about that, but it went my way.’
The impact was outside the line, which allowed Amla to score another 49 runs before being bowled by a wonderful delivery from Mitchell Starc which removed his off stump.
‘We need to come out tomorrow and work on building a lead, whether it is slowing or quickly. And then our bowlers have had a good long rest today, so they should be ready when they bat again. Anything from 50 to 70 ahead would be good because it gives you a chance to nip one or two out before they draw level.’
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