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Amla stands firm to frustrate England

AFP-JIJI

South African captain Hashim Amla defied England’s bowlers and batted throughout the third day of the second Test at Newlands on Monday.

Amla made an unbeaten 157 as South Africa reached 353 for three at the close, still 276 runs behind England’s first innings total of 629 for six declared.

AB de Villiers was the only batsman dismissed during the day as South Africa, 1-0 down in the four-Test series, dug in on a pitch which offered no assistance to the bowlers.

“We were behind the eight ball and it needed a really resilient performance to get back in the game,” said Faf du Plessis, who finished the day on 51 not out.

“To lose one wicket in the day is a really good effort. We are really proud of Hash.”

Steven Finn was the only successful bowler. He had De Villiers caught at midwicket shortly before tea after Amla and De Villiers had put on 183 in a third wicket partnership which lasted for two minutes short of five hours.

“We stuck to our guns very well,” said Finn. “We created a couple of chances, we changed our pace, our fields, our lengths, trying to create something.

“We’re still a long way ahead of the game because we didn’t let South Africa get away from us.”

Du Plessis, who like Amla had endured a lean spell with the bat, helped his captain put on an unbeaten 85 for the fourth wicket.

It was a crucial innings for Amla, who was under pressure for both his captaincy and his batting. South Africa has not won a Test since beating the West Indies at the same venue a year ago, while Amla had made only 150 runs at an average of 15.00 in 10 innings since that match.