Spin-friendly tracks not a surprise for us: Amla

Amla realises that runs from specialists at the top can make the difference between victory an defeat, especially with the bowling unit forced to cover up for the absence of Morne Morkel and JP Duminy, both injured, in Sunday’s fifth and final tie.

Hashim Amla himself has not been among the runs lately but believes a big knock is around the corner and wished it comes on Sunday.   -  THE HINDU

South Africa have yet to win a bilateral series with India so far, so the fifth ODIs at the Wankhede stadium is an opportunity to change the trend. Hashim Amla is also looking at the decider to weigh in with runs. There is no shortage of hard-hitters, they need an anchor to bat as long as possible in the 50 overs. "Everyone feels a big one is around the corner. Even if he scores a century, a batter is hoping that a big one is around the corner. I have been batting well, most of the innings I have managed to get a little bit of the flow going and getting myself out all the time. Cricket is like that and every batter feels a big one is around the corner."

Amla realises that runs from specialists at the top can make the difference between victory an defeat, especially with the bowling unit forced to cover up for the absence of Morne Morkel and JP Duminy, both injured, in Sunday’s fifth and final tie. “I don’t think Morne is fit enough to play. He bowled a bit in the nets but we will take a final call before the match,” said the SA opener. “Losing JP will affect us, he has been an unbelievably consistent performer. He adds great balance to the team with off spin as well.” He is confident of the replacements ability, adding: “No big series is ever won on 11 players. We have about 15 players who are going to be there at different times. This is one of those times for us.”

India preparing spinning tracks in this series is factored into South African preparations. “Coming to the sub-continent, it (spin-friendly wickets) is not a surprise for any of us. Like when foreign teams come to South Africa, they are expecting a little bit of seam and bounce and a different skill is challenged. So obviously spin will play a big part in the ODIs and Tests. It is just the way you play in the sub-continent,” he said, ahead of a big match for himself and the tam. Amla’s best is 37 off 59 balls in the opener at Kanpur before falling to leg-spinner Amit Mishra. He moved down to number three in another game later, but could not read Mishra and got stumped. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel dismissed him once.

He has a view on reasons for SA success on away tours. “I don’t know why the South Africa team has done well away from home. I would say it’s just about being able to adapt as quick as possible. South Africans are adaptable people, so wherever we go we try and learn as quick as possible about the conditions and try and play accordingly. With the sharing of knowledge from the senior players, that’s helped everyone who has come into the set-up to perform overseas. Everyone has learnt different things.”

Amla has toured India before and realises that quick runs at the start will help counter the difficulty in ramping up scoring in ODIs under the new field restrictions. “Throughout the series, the start has been really important. Teams have been 150 for 2 after 30 overs, so it’s been good going from the top order on both sides. Towards the back-end , it has changed a bit because in the last three to four years we have been used to having five men in the circle. I think it (extra fielder in the outfield rule) has been good (for cricket). Personally I feel so because it has given bowlers a chance at the close. We used to get quite big scores before because of the extra guy in the circle, and now he score has come down a bit.”