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Ken Borland

Magnificent Amla & Smith put SA in control

Posted on July 23, 2012 by Ken

The magnificent centuries of Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith, in his 100th Test, put South Africa in obvious control as they reached 403 for two at stumps on the third day of the first Test against England at the Oval in London on Saturday.

133rd over – Stuart Broad floats up a long, wide half-volley to Jacques Kallis and the maestro hammers it through the covers for four to take South Africa to 400.

129th over – Another sumptious punch off the back foot for four through cover-point by Amla, this time off Tim Bresnan, and South Africa are now in the lead.

128th over – Part-time off-spinner Kevin Pietersen is on and his second delivery is short and wide and Kallis cuts it through the covers for four.

126th over – Kallis gets on top of the bounce nicely and steers Jimmy Anderson through gully for four.

121st over – What a pinpoint throw from Andrew Strauss! Sadly it is into his own sunglasses which flipped off his head as he dashed in from midwicket to try and prevent a quick single by Kallis off Graeme Swann. Strauss was leaning backwards when he threw and managed to spear the ball straight into his glasses which were descending in front of him! They are totally demolished and the England captain dashes off to the changeroom at the end of the over to get another pair. He returns empty-handed however! Sponsors will have to help out …

115th over – Swann is spitting mad as he bowls a full toss to Amla, which is dispatched through the covers for four. It is his 39th over though … must be getting tired …

114th over – Neatly played by Kallis as he steers Ravi Bopara through backward point for four.

112th over – Four more for Amla with a majestic cover-drive for four off Bopara … even deep cover can’t stop the boundary.

106th over – Scintillating batting by Kallis as he ends the Bresnan over with two impressive boundaries. He leans back and pulls emphatically to the midwicket fence and then strokes an imperious drive through extra cover.

105th over – Over-pitched from Swann and Amla drives the off-spinner beautifully through the covers for four to go to 150 for the fourth time in his Test career. Amla has been the crease for just over seven hours and faced 294 balls, stroking 19 fours. A really fine innings, especially considering the pressure when he came to the crease.

98th over – Kallis heaves a sweep over midwicket for four off Swann.

Afternoon session

Hashim Amla was left to carry on the good work as South Africa went to tea on 277 for two on the third day of the first Test against England at the Oval in London on Saturday.

92nd over – Tim Bresnan strays down leg again and Amla sends the ball skipping down to the fine leg boundary for four.

88th over – WICKET – Graeme Smith’s tremendous innings comes to an end in fairly freakish fashion. The left-hander looks to play Bresnan into the leg side with his usual closed bat-face, but this time the ball comes off the bat and into his front leg, from where it ricochets back into the stumps! Smith bowled for 131 off 273 balls, with 20 fours. Jacques Kallis gets going with a boundary as Bresnan strays leg-side and the batsman works the ball to the fine leg boundary.

85th over – Amla is a bit early on the drive off Jimmy Anderson and the ball flies straight back down the wicket, but the bowler can’t get a hand to it and away it runs to the boundary, bringing up the 250 partnership off 493 balls.

84th over – Smith thick-edges Stuart Broad through gully, but he was well in control of the shot and gets four runs. He runs the next ball down to the third man boundary as well, past the despairing dive of Graeme Swann at third slip. Broad now goes straighter and Smith works him off his hip to fine leg for a third successive boundary!

83rd over – Amla has been driving and driving the second new ball without any reward, but now he gets one out the screws off Anderson, sending the ball racing through the covers for four.

82nd over – Stuart Broad is back with the second new ball, but strays down leg and Amla glances him fine for four.

74th over – England, in their desperation, have now wasted a review after Bresnan’s appeal against Smith for lbw was turned down. The paceman straightened a delivery into the left-hander, but HotSpot picks up a tiny scratch of bat on the ball. It also pitched outside leg stump and would probably have gone over the stumps!

72nd over – Amla edges a steer off Anderson past third slip for four to go to 99 and two balls later he steers the ball with far more control to third man for a single and his 15th test century. There’s no denying his sheer class either, this hundred coming in 282 minutes, off 199 balls and showcasing his great temperament and skill. Anderson’s next delivery, to Smith, is leg-side and flicked away for four by the South African captain.

69th over – Wonderful skill from Amla as he collects two boundaries in the Swann over – wristily flicking a ball from middle-and-off through midwicket, and then getting a sweep from outside off stump ridiculously fine for his 12th four.

67th over – Anderson starts after lunch with a 7:2 offside field, but his last delivery gets a bit of reverse in-shape, on to the pads and Amla flicks the ball through backward square for four.

Morning session

Graeme Smith brought up his century just before lunch which South Africa took on 187 for one on the third day of the first Test against England at the Oval in London on Saturday.

65th over – Successive boundaries off Tim Bresnan take Smith to his 25th Test century just two balls before lunch. The left-hander steers the ball through gully and then cracks a crunching cut shot behind point for his 16th boundary. Smith becomes the seventh batsman to score a century in his 100th Test, after Colin Cowdrey, Javed Miandad, Gordon Greenidge, Alec Stewart, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Ricky Ponting, and he needed four-and-a-half hours and 201 balls to reach the landmark. His 2nd fifty took just 41 balls! One of the all-time greats, there’s no denying!

64th over – Smith comes down the pitch to a well-flighted delivery from Graeme Swann, makes it a full toss and whips the ball through wide mid-on for four.

57th over – Ravi Bopara replaces Swann and again finds an edge, but this time Smith’s drive flies through gully for four.

56th over – Four more for Smith! Stuart Broad again drifts too straight from around the wicket and Smith whips him, straight out of the middle of the bat, through square-leg.

55th over – 21 runs from Swann’s last two overs as Smith collects two more boundaries. First he comes down the wicket again, driving crisply wide of mid-on for four; Swann then fires in a delivery on leg-stump and Smith tickles it fine for his 10th four, four of them in the last three overs!

54th over – Smith lashes the first ball after the drinks break through the covers with a classic cover-drive for four. Bowler Broad helped by bowling around the wicket and angling the ball into the left-hander, and by over-pitching, but that was a magnificent stroke by the South African captain.

53rd over – Swann has rather tied Smith up this morning, but the South African captain now breaks the shackles. He comes down the pitch to the first ball of the over and flicks the off-spinner through square-leg for three runs, bringing up his fifty. Coming off 160 balls, in 208 minutes, it’s the slowest of his 33 Test half-centuries. Two balls later, Smith reaches far down the pitch and sweeps very well, past backward square-leg for his seventh boundary.

52nd over – A wonderful cover-drive for four by Hashim Amla off Broad, perfectly-placed, hardly a fielder moved!

44th over – England are targeting Smith outside off stump today but this time it’s a touch short from Jimmy Anderson and the left-hander steers the ball expertly through gully for four, bringing up the hundred partnership off 246 deliveries.

43rd over – Full and on middle stump from Swann and Smith covers the turn and clips the ball firmly through midwicket for four.

42nd over – Amla gets the first boundary of the day with a superbly elegant back-foot drive through the covers off Anderson.

41st over – Amla completes a wonderfully composed half-century, in 152 minutes off 110 balls, as he drives off-spinner Swann to mid-on and steals a single.

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