'We are confident of winning'
Confidence on sky high after the convincing win in the opener against India in Centurion, South Africa middle-order batsman Hashim Amla on Friday said the Proteas will be hoping to seal the three-match series in the second Test beginning in Durban on Sunday.
South Africa thrashed world number one India by an innings and 25 runs in the first Test in Centurion earlier this week, which prompted Amla to say that the home team has a great chance of pocketing the series in Durban.
"Absolutely (we are confident of winning). A lot has been said about the wicket but at the end of the day, as a team, we try to keep things simple. Our bowlers and batsmen have been in good nick and hopefully we can continue in that vein. It's a big chance for us to seal the series here," Amla told reporters in a pres conference ahead of Sunday's match.
Image: Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis
Amla's 50th Test
"The mood in the team is quite positive after the Centurion win. The team has played a lot of cricket together and we've been through a lot of ups and downs.
"Very rarely has there been any complacency and people are putting in as much hard work, if not more, coming up to this Test. We're just trying to keep things simple and do what works for us. Everybody is motivated to perform but its hot and humid here so it's going to be hard work," the right-hander said.
Incidentally, Durban match will be Amla's 50th Test but he seemed least bothered about the feat.
"I'm not sure. At that stage I don't think I was looking past the next game. Fortunately, things have gone well and I've managed to reach 50 Tests," he said.
"I think playing any Test match at my home ground is a special occasion. To be honest, being the 50th Test doesn't make it any more important. The team always comes first and the fact that we won the last Test in a big series like this has taken precedence over any other distraction," Amla added.
Image: Hashim Amla
'I've always enjoyed playing at Kingsmead'
Asked whether scoring a century in his 50th Test match would be a special moment in his career, he said, "It would be lovely if I can score a ton, because my record here is not fantastic in Test matches.
"I've always enjoyed playing at Kingsmead. It would be lovely to make a good contribution to the team here. I've been brought up playing cricket here for the Dolphins and I've made runs here over the years in domestic cricket. It will be lovely to get some runs in a Test here," he said.
Image: Hashim Amla
'Things have worked out for me in the ODIs, Tests this year'
Born and brought up here, Amla is familiar with the Kingsmead strip and he feels with pace and bounce on offer it would good contest between the bat and ball.
"I've been very fortunate to have grown up playing on this wicket. It has pace and bounce for the bowlers," he said.
"I'm not sure how this wicket is going to play, but on a good day, when the wicket is flat, it's a fantastic place to bat. The outfield's small and the boundaries are short and you get fantastic value for shots," Amla added.
Incidentally, Amla is the first South African of Indian descent to have made it to the national team and have also been very successful against the Indian attack.
Asked about the mantra behind his success against the Indians, he said, "It's quite funny actually. I really don't know what to say. I'm just grateful that I've had a good year so far, and the year is not over yet.
"At the end of the day it's the players who can perform consistently that stand out. I don't think it's anything in particular. Things have just worked out for me in the ODIs and Tests this year," he added.
Image: Hashim Amla