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Hashim Amla is known as the “Mighty Hash” on social media websites like Twitter, but yesterday he became the Incredible Hash, when he scored the first Test triple-century by a South African.
Amla achieved the feat in SA’s 368th Test at the Oval against England.
“I’m obviously very humbled and excited that such an opportunity has fallen my way,” Amla said.
The man from Durban celebrated the monumental achievement in typically modest fashion, removing his bat and helmet and acknowledging the enthusiastic and prolonged applause from his teammates and a full house at a ground where SA had not won a Test match.
“I think being the nature of records, it will obviously get broken some day but it is an honour to be the first South African to pass the 300 mark,” said Amla. “It’s also really special to be among the talented past players who have posted big scores for the Proteas, so I really hope that this feat makes the country proud. I owe a lot of gratitude to my parents, family and coaches who have supported me throughout my career.”
Amla finished unbeaten on 311 when SA’s captain, Graeme Smith, declared the innings closed at tea on 637/2. Smith, too, had achieved his own historic feat on Saturday when he became just the seventh player to score a century while playing in his 100th Test. The 29-year-old batted for 13 hours and nine minutes – the second-longest innings in Test cricket by a SA batsmen, behind Gary Kirsten’s 14 hour 46-minute epic also against England in Durban in 1999, when he made 275.
Amla hit 35 boundaries in his innings, and shared in record partnerships for SA against England of 259 with Smith and 377 with Jacques Kallis, who ended on 182 not out.
Amla’s achievement was hailed by Cricket South Africa’s acting chief executive, Jacques Faul, who described him as a wonderful role-model.
“Hashim has to be singled out for first breaking AB de Villiers’s record of 278 not out and then going on to join the 300 club.
“The Proteas have produced outstanding batting performances over the years, but an innings of 300 has been the one thing missing from the top order’s CV.
“Hashim’s contribution to South African cricket has gone far beyond the runs he has put on the scoreboard.
“He remains a wonderful role-model to our youth with the humility and dignity he displays on the field, his totally professional and focused approach on the field, and the manner in which he conducts himself.”