Johannesburg: South African batsman Hashim Amla on Friday came in praise of pacer Ishant Sharma, who led a devastating exhibition of seam bowling to bring India back into the first Test, saying he exploited the conditions well.
"He (Ishant) bowled in the right areas, used bounce very well and nipped the ball both ways. He bowled well," Amla said at the press conference after the second day's play.
Ishant took three wickets for 64 runs to reduce South Africa to 146 for six at one stage. But, the home side recovered by stumps, thanks to a 67 run partnership between Faf du Plessis and Vernon Philander, finishing the day at 213 for six, 67 runs behind India.
Ishant (3 for 64) dismissed Hashim Amla (36) and Jaques Kallis (0) off consecutive deliveries. (Getty Images)
Amla said even after second day of the first Test against India, the Wanderers' pitch was "helping bowlers" and it could "get worse" as the match progresses.
"Bowlers bowled well today and they are getting some assistance from the pitch. The ball is moving and cracks are opening up, so it could get worse as game progresses on. Not all dismissals were because of the pitch though. For example, I could have used my bat. It was a good example of a bad leave," he said.
Asked about South Africa's batting collapse, Amla said, "Batting collapses happen in Test cricket, that's what makes this the best format of the game. Our batting has done well over the past year though. Vernon has done well as a bowler, but he is also a good batsman. He did well against England at Lord's last year, scoring 60-odd and today he showed that, along with Faf du Plessis, it is important to have a lower order that bats well."
Asked about Ajinkya Rahane's view that 270 could be a good fourth-innings target, Amla said, "We are happy with the recovery we made today. But we are not out of the woods yet. We need to come back and fight again on Day 3. India got 280 in the first innings and it is a competitive total. This is a very good, sporting wicket. So, 270-odd should be an interesting chase," he said.