New Delhi: On Sunday, under a murky Delhi sky, South African skipper Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Temba Bavuma played some exceptional innings, which have left many wondering, why so late?
Former India opener Aakash Chopra, who has established himself as one of the leading pundits of the game, have applauded the South African batting efforts, saying that they have shown the real facet of Test cricket batting.
Well played, South Africa...Amla, Bawuma and AB have shown a facet of cricket that most people, including me, thought had disappeared.
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) December 6, 2015
VVS Laxman, a giant of a Test batsman, questioned the tactics adopted, but nonetheless hailed the batting from the South Africans.
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) December 6, 2015
Chasing an improbable target of 481 in the fourth innings of the fourth and final Test match of the 2015 Freedom series, Proteas were trying hard to salvage a a draw in Delhi, and in the course, sort of reviving the Test batting.
If the visitors continued with the same determination, application and of course, patience then a draw will be a fair result, considering how the previous matches in the series have been won or lost inside three days.
At stumps on the penultimate day, Proteas were 72/2 from 72 overs. 72 runs from 72 overs, even when there's a batsman like de Villiers -- the South African Superman with an unrivaled ability to hit almost every ball out of the park. That's Test cricket.
After losing Dean Elgar as early as the fourth over of the innings, youngster Bavuma played with purpose, scoring 34 runs from 117 deliveries. A veritable show of application from an opener, which has been missing in the entire series, from either camp.
Then arrived the master-class from Amla. The skipper took 40 balls to open his account, and when the day's play was ended, he was on 23 not out from 207 balls. Surely, unthinkable in modern day cricket.
Amla consumed 113 balls to score 6 runs to break the record for facing most number of balls for a single-digit score, previously in the name of Australian Carl Rackemann who had taken 102 balls to get to 9 runs,
Call it an unwanted record, but the skipper's innings is a gem.
And de Villiers' efforts were also exceptional. The quintessential modern day batsman with some fastest records in his name, arrived after the fall of Bavuma and showed his ability to play a different version of game. Of all his hitting ability and the range of strokes, he blocked everything. He was on 11 not out from 91 deliveries.
And with that they have full day's play tomorrow, against Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.