Veteran South African batsman Hashim Amla survived what he describes was a ‘minefield as he helped his side reach a total of 194 at the Wanderers’. Amla feels that even if the Indians set them a target of 300, the home team would be able to chase it down in the final innings.
The Wanderers’ continued to test the batsmen as it offered the pacers staggering movement with the ball throughout the day. India enjoyed one of the best days on the tour, and have the nature of the Wanderers surface to thank for as Jasprit Bumrah managed to claim the scalp of five South African batsmen. Hashim Amla later admitted that batsmen were not able to settle on the Wanderers' pitch for the ongoing Test, but would not be drawn into calling conditions extreme.
Amla, who scored a fighting 61, went on to admit that the Johannesburg wicket was one of the most challenging strips he had batted on during his career. "It's probably one of the spiciest wickets that I've played on. There have been a couple over the last one or two years that have been quite difficult. In England, there were one or two. It's quite challenging," Amla said in a post-match press conference on Wednesday.
The debate was quite rife between supporters of both teams, as fans and critics alike questioned the state of the pitch at the Wanderers’ as some experts labeled the pitch ‘to be unfair towards batsmen’.
"It's quite a spicy wicket. No one can hide from the fact that you can get out every ball. By the same token, it's challenging as a batsman. Sometimes we get wickets that are pretty flat and you can score lots of runs. The bowlers are having their ice-cold cool drink and enjoying it. It is just quite difficult to bat, whether it's too excessive or not if you ask a batsman what do you think they will say?" said Amla.
Amla is the one batsmen who seemed in control because he adjusted himself so that he moved further across his stumps than he normally does. Amla explained the strategy was meant to counter the movement.
"I figured that the ball is doing too much, so get into the channel. If it's outside the line, try and leave it. You are going to take a few knocks on the body but that's part of the game."
In conditions where every run was a blessing, South Africa would want to make the most of the early hour on Friday. While the scorecard revealed a slight advantage for the Indian contingent, Amla felt that the match was 'evenly poised'.
I am happy that we've won matches on wickets that are doing quite a bit for the bowlers and on pitches that offered something to the batters. We still came out on top. Anything can happen tomorrow morning. Even if we have to chase 300, that's fine, we are going to do our best to get there." the 34 year-old added.