We are in a strong position: Hashim Amla

Last Updated: Jan 03, 2011, 15:13 PM IST

Cape Town: South Africa were in a strong position by reaching 232 for four on the first day on bowling-friendly conditions against India in the third Test but ill-afford to lower their guards, batsman Hashim Amla said on Monday.

"Losing four wicket is never a good thing. But with a little juice in the wicket and overhead conditions we`re in a good space," Amla said at the post-match press conference.

"The first session (tomorrow) will be crucial but we haven`t discussed a total yet. It`s quite challenging, more for the batters. There`s still a fair covering of grass on it. The ball is 70 overs old and it`s still nipping. There is a bit of moisture, so I suppose it will get better for batting if the sun comes out," he said.

Amla praised Jacques Kallis who was batting for 81, saying that his senior colleague has shown his class on a difficult pitch.

"Jacques has probably been the key to our team for 15 years now. On a testing wicket there`s always going to be playing and missing. He showed his class today, kept the innings together and played really well," he said.

Asked about the two rain breaks on the first day, he said, "To keep switching on and off is a mental shift. When we got on after the break I got a few loose deliveries and got the momentum going."

Amla denied there was exchange of words between him and Sreesanth during the day.

"No words exchanged. I didn`t say anything back," he said.

Asked if their was a rush of blood which led to his dismissal off a poor shot, Amla said, "I had a couple of chocolates. I think it was the sugar high more than anything. There were a few full balls that I could capitalize on and the momentum just went with me."

PTI