File photo of South Africa batsman Hashim Amla. (Getty Images)
Abu Dhabi: South African batsman Jean-Paul Duminy said star performer Hashim Amla's return will be a big bonus for South Africa in the third one-day international against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Amla, ranked second in Test batsmen rankings, left for home to attend the birth of his second child after the first of two Tests in the series which ended 1-1.
He missed the first two one-days - won each by South Africa and Pakistan -- before joining the squad on Sunday, despite the delay in the birth. Duminy hoped Amla gives good starts to South Africa who were shot out for 183 and 143 in the one-day matches. "Hashim's return is a bonus but there's no guarantee that he will come and score runs.
He's probably given us the best starts in the ODI format - he's the best in the world - so it's great to have him back," Duminy said after training on Monday. "There's no pressure on him as he brings a lot of experience to the team and it's always great to have him. Hopefully he can contribute to our batting performance. "Besides Amla, the return of pace spearhead Dale Steyn will also bolster South African bowling.
Steyn had left for home to rest after the second Test. Duminy admitted facing Pakistani slow bowlers on spin-friendly pitches was a big challenge. "It is arguably one of the best bowling attacks in one-day cricket at the moment. It's just about making sure we have good game plans in place and working in partnerships out there and knowing you are not alone," said Duminy. South Africa lost their first wicket for nought and seven in the two games, wickets which put them under pressure.
"When you're losing wickets early upfront you're always catching up with the game from a batting perspective. A lot of us including myself have got in, to 20s and 30s and got out," said Duminy who had scores of 20 and 25 in two matches. "We've done the business in the past - its just about making sure we back ourselves to do it again. "Duminy hoped all the players do their best to turn the series in South Africa's favour.
"Look we're obviously in a tight position, but it's not the end of the world. We haven't had two great performances with the bat and I guess everybody would be thinking that is our worrying factor right now which is probably true. But we've got to stand up and be accountable for it as a batting unit," said Duminy. The fourth match will also be played in Abu Dhabi on Friday while the fifth and final will be held in Sharjah on November 11. The two teams will also play two Twenty20 internationals in Dubai on November 11 and 13.