Amla keeps South Africa moving towards No. 1 - 08-19-2012, 10:26 AM
Hashim Amla continued to defy England as he approached another hundred © AFP
South Africa moved inexorably towards the stats of the world's No. 1 Test nation as England managed to remove only the nightwatchman Dale Steyn on the fourth morning of the third and final Test at Lord's.
Hashim Amla, missed on 2 down the leg side by Matt Prior the previous day, his first drop standing back for two years, made England suffer for the let-off. He was 94 not out at lunch and his consummate response to all that England's offspinner, Graeme Swann, could throw at him, was a major indication of South Africa's authority.
England were desperate for inroads with the second new ball which at lunch was only 20 deliveries away. Temperatures around 30C made it the hottest day of the summer, but England's frustration grew as a thundery shower, not forecast, caused the morning session to be suspended three minutes early.
South Africa led by 210 runs at lunch after a morning in which they added only 65 runs in 26.4 overs, a largely featureless session in which they again displayed the sort of batting durability to which England have had few answers. Amla did not hit a boundary all morning - one mistimed lofted drive against Swann dropped close - but his understated progress was hurting England badly.
England made their task of recovering the series at the last more difficult with another blemish in the field. James Anderson's fumble, diving forward to intercept a simple catch at short midwicket off Swann left the batsman, AB de Villiers, looking on in wonder. De Villiers, on 8, was 24 by lunch.
England began eagerly with Steven Finn summoning a concerted, hostile spell for the first time in the series. But Amla survived some early play-and-misses and played the rest of England's attack in comfort on a sedate, and still largely true, surface.
Steyn was treated to a barrage of short balls. He had been struck on the top hand (his left) the previous evening and the physio was trotting out with the pain-relief spray within minutes of the resumption as Finn hit him again. As Finn is in the habit of remarking at every interview, he was certainly hitting the right areas.
Steyn clung on gamely for nearly nine overs until Stuart Broad produced a rearing delivery which he could only lob gently to James Taylor at short leg.
Anderson's over use of the short ball also led him to receive an official warning from the umpire, Simon Taufel, to go alongside the warning he had received from the other umpire, Kumar Dharmasena, the previous day for running on the pitch.
|africa, amla, moving, south|