It has been a forgettable period out in the middle for Hashim Amla recently, which has led to growing murmurs that the powers of the ‘Great Bearded One’ might be on the wane.
But on Friday, Amla made a welcome return to form for the Cape Cobras in the Four-Day Franchise Series in Port Elizabeth.
Having made a first-ball duck in the first innings against the Warriors at St George’s Park, Amla came good in the second dig, scoring 61 off 135 balls (8x4) for the Cape side against the Warriors.
It was the same amount of runs as opener Pieter Malan, whose brother Janneman was the mainstay of the innings with a sparkling 168 off 279 balls (23x4, 1x6).
At tea on day three, the Cobras were on a healthy 359/3 in their second innings, leading by 373 runs.
But more importantly on the national front, Amla finally found his touch after a lean last few months as he spent just over three hours at the crease on Friday.
His last half-century in Test cricket came 10 innings ago – a 56 against Australia in Port Elizabeth in March – and since then, he scored 27, 31, 31, 27, 16, 15, 0, 19 and 6.
In 11 ODI visits to the crease in 2018, things have been slightly better – 16, 23, 1, 33, 71, 10, 19, 43, 59, 40 and 0.
And in his last 10 innings, all in the T20 format since the end of August – he missed the ODI tour to Australia due to injury – Amla garnered 2, 35, 3, 15, 24, 12, 0, 4, 16 and 0.
Those are not statistics we are used to seeing from the normally dominant Amla, but the 35-year-old right-hander and Proteas coach Ottis Gibson will hope that the 61 on Friday will mean that he is back to his best ahead of the first Test against Pakistan on Boxing Day at Centurion.
That's 50 for the Mighty Hash as we continue building our lead. Cobras 228/1— COBRAS CRICKET (@CobrasCricket) December 21, 2018