Aussie seamer Peter Siddle, well established and a familiar foe to the Proteas, pointed out that the home side fancied their chances if they could get through skipper Faf du Plessis and the Zen-zone of the tourists, Hashim Amla.
While the former will get to face the media tomorrow, Amla was given the opportunity to respond to Siddle’s snipes straight away.
Standing in the sun of the Waca Stadium in Perth yesterday, Amla seemed to have more trouble fighting off the flies as he answered in his typical, laid-back fashion.
“We have been asked about one or two of their batters as well, so it is part and parcel of a series like this. The great thing about a series like this is that batters will make runs on both teams, so there is no need to focus on just one player,” Amla observed.
“Obviously, Faf and I are the most experienced in the team, but we are not too worried about that. As a team, we pride ourselves on everyone making a contribution. It’s not about one player, in a series like this. It’s about everyone making a contribution. If it’s not your day, someone else will step up, Amla pointed out.
Siddle had suggested that South Africa has a soft centre, with the missing AB de Villiers putting a lot more pressure on Amla and Du Plessis to deliver the goods.
“If we can try and put a bit of pressure on them, then hopefully we can get at a few of the inexperienced boys in the team,” he said recently.
But Amla, who has seen young men come to Australia and flourish under extreme pressure, is extremely comfortable in what South Africa has in the bag on this trip, even without the brilliance of De Villiers.
“We have a lot of gun batsmen, really, really good batsmen. We believe that they can all make an impact, so if it is not your day, we know that someone else will make a contribution,” the silent slayer of speed and spin said.
“In a series like this, it won’t be one batsman who takes the series away, he added.
What Australia would do well is to avoid trying to get under Amla’s skin.
The 33-year-old has the fondest of memories at the Waca, for a start.
His brilliant, brutal 196 took the collective breath away four years ago, as he and the De Villiers flayed the Aussie attack to all corners in the last Tour of Australia involving Test matches in 2012. That year, the Proteas completed a 1-0 Test series victory of a three-match series, drawing Tests in Brisbane and Adelaide before crushing the hosts in Perth with a 309-run victory.
Amla, in that mood, is intolerable.
Of late, he has looked in something approaching that kind of touch, without quite converting it into the kind of mammoth scores that he is very capable of.
Who knows what may occur over the course of the next three matches. Relinquished of captaincy duties, Amla remains a focal point in the side’s batting.
He oozes class and is calm at the crease, and he will know that he may never again play against Australia, in Australia.
Those ingredients alone, coupled with the dangling carrot of three successive triumphs Down Under, are enough to get any man fired up.
Amla smiled through the questions of having a target on his back, and swatted away the jabs as easily as he did the files around him.
Come Thursday, if he again reaches the delirious heights he scaled four years ago, the Aussies may wish they had never stoked the belly of the bearded beast in South Africa’s arsenal.
The StarHashim Amla is extremely comfortable with what SA has in store for the three Test series against Australia, even without AB De Villiers.
Original source: Amla ready to flay Aussies