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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Cricket Buzz: Victory vindicates Amla's stand to declare innings

Cricket Buzz: Victory vindicates Amla's stand to declare innings

July 21, 2014 10:07 IST

Cricket Buzz: Victory vindicates Amla's stand to declare innings

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Hashim Amla was probably more relieved than elated after his declaration gamble paid off and the bearded South African began his captaincy tenure with a thumping 153-run win against Sri Lanka on Sunday.

PHOTOS: Steyn, Morkel star as Proteas register rare win in Lanka

South Africa's first permanent non-white skipper made a gamble on the fourth day of the series-opener when he declared his team's second innings at 206-6, challenging the hosts to score 370 runs in four sessions to win the first Test.

With Sri Lanka knocking 110 runs off that victory target by the close of play on Saturday losing just one wicket, things did not look particularly rosy even though history said no team had chased down such a big fourth innings victory target at the venue.

"I just wanted as many overs to bowl to win the game, it’s not easy to bat last on this wicket, if we lose the game, so be it, but give us the best chance to win the game," Amla said of his declaration.

- NEXT: 'Uncertainty is something that is quite exciting'


Image: South Africa's captain Hashim Amla (left) and bowler Dale Steyn celebrate after their win in the first Test against Sri Lanka on Sunday
Photographs: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

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'Uncertainty is something that is quite exciting'

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"At 110 for one, we thought if we get one wicket we had a chance because batting last and chasing 370 is a really tall ask for any team."

He was also lucky to have Dale Steyn, arguably the best fast bowler in international cricket, at his disposal and the quick came up with a match-winning performance to gift Amla a perfect captaincy debut.

Amla, on his part, displayed signs of a leader who was not averse to taking risk to get results.

"I was pretty confident and very excited, because that uncertainty is something that is quite exciting -- bland word, but it is an exciting feeling to have that uncertainty," he said.

Amla was effusive in his praise for Steyn and was happy with the overall team performance which made him optimistic of winning the series against the gritty Sri Lankans.

"Not many teams have come here and won a Test series so it's in the back of our minds," said Amla, adding all he was now looking forward was to "having a nice cup of tea and enjoying this win."

- NEXT: Raza century helps Zimbabwe to big win over Afghanistan


Image: South Africa's captain Hashim Amla (R) celebrates with teammate Morne Morkel (2nd from left) after dismissing Sri Lanka's Dinesh Chandimal on Sunday
Photographs: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

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Raza century helps Zimbabwe to big win over Afghanistan

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Opener Sikandar Raza blasted his first one-day international century as Zimbabwe trounced Afghanistan by eight wickets in the second ODI at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Sunday.

Pakistan-born Raza smashed 141 from 133 balls and put on an opening stand of 224, the highest partnership in Zimbabwean limited overs cricket, alongside Hamilton Masakadza (93).

Having been put in to bat, Afghanistan ended their 50 overs on 256 for seven, with 17-year-old Usman Ghani scoring his first ODI century as he struck 118 from 143 balls.

But Zimbabwe lost two wickets as they reached their target with 39 balls to spare to take a 2-0 lead in the four match series after Friday's six-wicket victory.

The third One-Day International will be played at the same venue on Tuesday.


Image: Sikandar Raza of Zimbabwe
Photographs: Getty Images

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