Hashim Amla resigns as South Africa skipper after England draw
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | January 6, 2016
South Africa (627-7d) v England (629-6d & 159-6)
- England maintain their 1-0 Test series lead after draw
- Stokes hits record-breaking fastest 250
- Amla also gets double hundred before resigning as captain
- Bavuma and Bairstow gain centuries too
Amla resigns as captain after Cape Town draw
The high-scoring draw between South Africa and England has followed with news that hosting captain Hashim Amla has stepped down from the position, with AB de Villers taking over for the rest of the series.
Amla’s announcement may come as a surprise to many after he only just hit a match-saving double hundred, but the decision was apparently already made a couple of weeks ago. He will still be available for the next Test, and is 3/1 to be best batsman again in the first innings for his team.
The batsman’s form in the last year, since taking over from long-term skipper Graeme Smith, has been very poor and has also coincided with his team’s dip – though they are still the number one Test-ranked team.
On being named skipper on top of his leading role for ODIs, De Villers said: “I’ve said this before that it is an incredible honour to captain South Africa in any format. The captaincy has obviously come at short notice and is the realisation of a lifelong dream.
“At the moment my priority and focus is placed on leading this team to what can be a memorable series win against England. This Test squad is motivated and determined to turn our performances around and I’m looking forward to taking up that challenge as captain.”
England hold onto 1-0 lead
The news has somewhat overshadowed the actual events of the match, which saw terrific first innings scores from both sides and top individual efforts.
England would’ve taken a draw at Cape Town, in what has become a fortress for South Africa in recent years, prior to the second Test being already 1-0 up, but will perhaps be disappointed they didn’t capitalise on their huge first innings score.
The tourists declared on 629-6, with all-rounder Ben Stokes smashing a record-breaking 258 – the quickest ever 250 – off just 198 balls, but the hosts were able to match that effort.
Amla led the fightback with a double hundred of his own (201), by far his best knock in the last year, as his side replied with 627-7d before he put England in the bat again in attempt to level the series.
In the end, bad light cut play short on day five, but it was highly unlikely a win for either side was possible anyway with the visitors 159-6 in their second innings.
Visitors can carry momentum to Johannesburg
Looking back, England won’t mind that they still hold a 1-0 lead against the world number one-ranked Test team with two matches to go, and certainly have a lot of positives to take to Johannesburg.
Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow continues to cement his place in the Test team and make Jos Buttler wait longer for a second chance after an emotional unbeaten half-century, which he dedicated to his late father and grandfather.
Debutant opener Alex Hales and returning Nick Compton, meanwhile, have showed signs they can be more than useful to England the Test and the future after decent first innings scores.
The two nations now travel to the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg for the third and penultimate Test, from January 14th-18th, though England have not faired well there in history.
In the last 15 attempts in that city, since 1928, they’ve won just twice, which makes South Africa’s odds for victory at 11/8 enticing.
Alastair Cook’s men are priced the same, but another draw may be the best outcome to back at 10/3, with that result occurring eight times between the two teams in Johannesburg in that time.
For the hosts, meanwhile, they too have shown signs of improvement since their woeful display in Durban, with youngsters Temba Bavuma and Kagiso Rabada impressing. The former recorded a hundred and the latter was the pick of the bowlers in the first innings by taking three wickets.
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