Hashim Amla continued his record-breaking tour of England to lead the Proteas’ Castle Lager squad to an emphatic 80 runs victory over their hosts in the second ODI at Southampton on Tuesday.
It was an historic moment for the Proteas as they have become the first team ever to be ranked simultaneously the No. 1 ranked team in all three formats of the game.
Amla has had a wonderful tour, making a South African record triple century in the first Test match at the Oval and following it with another century at Lord’s. And his innings of 150 in this match was another record-breaking effort.
It was South Africa’s sixth highest individual score of all time and the highest ever against England. In the process he became the quickest player in the history of the game to make 10 ODI centuries and to reach 3 000 ODI runs. Remarkably he got to the latter target 12 innings quicker than the next fastest – the legendary Sir Vivian Richards.
What really stood out about Amla’s innings was the manner in which he manipulated the England attack. In a different era Barry Richards was well known for his ability to hit boundaries around the clock and Amla has reached a similar level.
It did not matter what length and line the England bowlers pursued; Amla was still able to find gaps in the field to hit his boundaries. There were 16 fours in his 150 that came off only 124 balls and most of those boundaries were hit in the second half of his innings when England had plenty of boundary riders.
He enabled South Africa to reach 287/5 in their 50 overs.
AB de Villiers also reached a notable landmark when he became the fastest non-West Indian to reach 5 000 ODI runs. Only the great Caribbean trio of Viv Richards, Brian Lara and Gordon Greenidge have got there faster.
England initially were ahead of the scoring rate but they kept on losing wickets with half their side being dismissed before the halfway stage. The required rate gradually soared to more than seven to the over and in the end they were bowled out well short of the 50 overs available to them.
Lonwabo Tsotsobe got the Proteas away to the perfect start when he bowled England captain Alastair Cook in his first over.
Thereafter all the other bowlers chipped away supported by some good fielding, highlighted by a brilliant effort by Dean Elgar in the deep to remove Jonathan Trott.
Robbie Peterson achieved a landmark by taking his 50th ODI wicket.
It goes without saying that Amla was named Man of the Match.
This result has moved the Proteas up to No. 1 on the ODI log and dropped England to No. 3 behind India but the Proteas will have to keep on winning to maintain their premier status.
The next match is at The Oval in London on Friday.