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SA want to make Amla’s 100th Test extra special

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JOHANNESBURG: South Africa will look to celebrate Hashim Amla’s 100th Test by completing a series whitewash over Sri Lanka in the third Test here at the Wanderers from Thursday.

Having thumped Sri Lanka by 206 runs and 282 runs in the first two Tests, South Africa have extra impetus from Amla’s milestone to keep the visitors unhappy.

Quiet by nature, Amla has turned down the offer of a special dinner to mark the occasion and has steered clear of speaking to the press, but his team-mates intend to turn a dead rubber into a memorable match.

“Hashim has been one of our pillars over a long period of time. It would be really nice for us to give him a victory,” fast bowler Wayne Parnell said on Tuesday.

Amla made his debut against India in Kolkata in November 2004, and although he struggled in his first three Tests, he overcame that hurdle to become one of South Africa’s most prolific batsmen.

Now 33, Amla has scored 7,665 runs in Test cricket at an average just below 50, and his unbeaten 311 against England at The Oval is the highest score by a South African in tests.

However, he has undergone a rare lean patch over the past six months, when he has gone 12 innings without a hundred, and nine without a half-century.

“He’s a brilliant player, but he’s not in form in this series. Hopefully it will be the same in this match as well,” Sri Lanka batsman Dhananjaya de Silva said.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2017

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