When you click on the cricinfo link to the scorecard for the Eden Gardens’ test the first name you see is Hashim Amla.
That is just how their live scorecard works.
It isn’t making a statement with his name; he was just not out, after facing a few more than a hundred overs to win a series for his country.
He couldn’t win the series, but India must have realised that in order to win this test they were essentially only a chance when he was at the non-strikers’ end.
490 runs for one out in three innings. That is batting.
Before the English series Amla was averaging a very bland 40 with the bat after 37 tests.
On a older test match sofa podcast I said he had talent but had been a massive underachiever.
Now he has conquered India.
His team hasn’t, but he has.
Sometimes you can play in six tests when you are in form and it changes the trajectory of your career, at other times you will remember them as the six tests when you didn’t suck.
And in these two tests Amla definitely did not suck.
His calm head today made his team mates look like they were panic buying before the Mayan prophecies came true.
This isn’t the strongest Indian attack of all time, but Bhajji was humming, Mishra was more than handy, and it wasn’t like the rest of the South Africans looked like staying in. Prince offered 23 runs as second highest scorer if you don’t count Extras.
While two tests is still not a series, what two tests these were.
Steyn’s bowling, Amla’s batting, Sehwagology, and Tendulkar’s hundreds all set this up.
Nothing could beat the end of the day.
At one end you had Amla batting like he was made of granite.
At the other end was a collection of leg spin, off spin and Sachin spin trying to pry out South Africa’s former number 8 as the minutes ticked away.
Match winning hauls, stoic defense, amazing attack, all packed into a seriesette.
Plus the result was right.
It proved that no team really deserved to take the crown, but that both teams could kick some ass when they got their shit together.
India are number one, which seems odd when in 50% of this seriesette they were beaten up.
Ofcourse with South Africa now winning 3 of their last 9 tests, India’s record is looking more and more impressive.
In the end the artificial ranking system means nothing, look at the player and crowd reaction to that win, that means more than anything a statistician can table.
Now all I need to do is stop wishing this was a 5 test series…