Both raised a smile as they reacted to a good day’s work, but it was the paceman who was laughing for longer.
While the bustling Bumrah, of Punjabi descent, was being tickled by the afterglow of a maiden five-wicket haul, Amla was still nursing the after-effects of being violently tickled by an Ishant Sharma missile that located his ribs. The Proteas’ veteran has the fresh wound to prove it.
Amla admitted that The Bullring was “one of the spicier wickets” that he had encountered, and there was genuine satisfaction in every one of the 61 runs he collected.
“It’s nice to come to this type of wicket already 2-0 up,” he admitted.
“I was very happy to get 60-odd.”
In the circumstances, the efforts of Kagiso Rabada, who turned night-watchman duty into a cameo of 30, were worth a lot to the team.
“He batted very well. To get 30 in a situation like that, where you can get out at any time, was great. We saw a bit of flair coming out again,” Amla noted. A feature of the wicket has been wickets clattering in clutches, and India were able to stay in the match by striking regularly enough, on a type of wicket that Bumrah has never seen in his life before.
And why would he not delight in pace, bounce and seam movement that has ensured that 200 is a most competitive fourth innings target on a wicket that is playing as if Hades himself had spat on it to spite the batsmen.
Bumrah was the man who eventually got rid of Amla thanks to a leg-stump delivery that the SA batsman flicked straight down deep square-leg’s gullet, the cherry on top of his five-tier cake, with layers that included Messrs De Kock, Du Plessis, Phehlukwayo and last-man Ngidi, who was bounced out.
Bumrah admitted he was learning all the time, and said he had been advised to keep it simple by his peers.
He has clearly been listening, because he is now asking serious questions of some of the best batsmen in the world.
“It (the wicket) is a new experience, and I have definitely not played on a wicket like this in India.
“A lot is happening with the new ball, so our plan has been to pressurise as a unit,” Bumrah said.