Amla on hallowed ground as he plays his 100th test for SA
On the eve of his 100th Test for South Africa — against Sri Lanka at Wanderers Stadium, starting tomorrow — batting great Hashim Amla has received warm praise from teammates Stephen Cook and Wayne Parnell.
When he walks on to the hallowed turf of the Bullring for the third and final Test, with South Africa looking for a 3-0 whitewash over the tourists‚ Amla will become only the eighth South African to play in 100 Tests.
He joins an elite group including greats such as Jacques Kallis‚ Mark Boucher‚ Graeme Smith‚ Shaun Pollock‚ Makhaya Ntini‚ Gary Kirsten and AB de Villiers in the “100 Club”.
Cook‚ who will be playing in front of his home crowd and has known Amla since school days‚ described Amla as a fantastic person and one of the best batsman South Africa has produced.
“I grew up playing school cricket against him when he was at Durban High School and I was at KES [King Edward High School‚” Cook said yesterday.
“I have always known him as a fantastic person and great player — you just have to look at his statistics.
“I have been fortunate to share various dressing rooms with him from the time he was my captain at under-19 level to now where we are playing Test cricket together 15 years later.”
Wayne Parnell said the team wanted to win the Test and whitewash the Sri Lankans for the sake of Amla who has been the foundation for many successes on international battlegrounds around the world since 2004.
“Like Stephen (Cook) said‚ his record speaks for itself. The man has scored almost 8000 Test runs at an average of almost 50 which is remarkable,” Parnell said.
“He has been one of the pillars of this team for a long time and it will be nice to give him a win that will ensure a whitewash in his 100th Test.
“We haven‘t had a whitewash in a while; it would be great to do it for a guy like him.”
Parnell added that throughout his international career‚ Amla had always been someone he could turn to for advice when things got tough.
“He has been like a brother to me; an awesome team man. I really wish him well in this Test.”
Cook said Amla was a calming influence in the team; someone with a good feel for the game who knew how to share his tactical nous with those around him.
“On my debut‚ I batted with him for a long time. He was so welcoming and helpful‚” Cook said.
“He plays a vital role in the side whether he makes 0 or 100. He is one of those guys who starts on 30 because his experience is worth 30 runs.”
— TMG Digital