FILE - Hashim Amla AFP)
FILE - Hashim Amla AFP)

WATCH: Batting is always enjoyable, says Hashim Amla after epic 278-ball ’blockathon’

By Zaahier Adams Time of article published Jul 8, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Proteas legend Hashim Amla has claimed it was past experiences with the South African national team that inspired him to play another epic "blockathon" for Surrey in the English County Championship.

Surrey were following-on after being dismissed for 78 in their first innings in response to Hampshire's mammoth 488, and needed to bat 96 overs to stave off defeat.

Amla, 38, showed that he has lost none of his powers of concentration and appetite to spend long periods at the crease by batting all day to remain unbeaten on 37 from 278 balls.

According to renowned South African cricket statistician Andrew Sampson it is a record for the most balls faced in a first-class innings of less than 40.

The veteran scored just three runs from his first 100 balls and showed his extreme commitment to the cause by wearing numerous blows to the body from the Hampshire attack that included former Proteas teammate Kyle Abbott.

The innings brought back fond memories of when Amla kept the Indian attack at bay in Delhi back in 2015 for 255 balls in scoring just 25.

"There have been a couple of South African games that we've had where we needed to bat out time for a draw," Amla told the Surrey CC media department.

"I enjoyed that. Batting is always enjoyable. It is a difficult situation because you always want to score runs. That's what every batsmen wants to do. The last thing you want to do is play some shots and the game is over by lunch time. But everybody put their hand up. Every batter that came in tried their best to block it out and you never know how far you can go. Thankfully today we went all the way."

Amla had one moment of good fortune when he was dropped at leg-slip with 17 overs still remaining, but furthermore it was an exhibition of true batsmanship that inspired Surrey youngsters Ryan Patel (16 off 86 balls), Jamie Smith (14 off 60 balls) and Ben Geddes (15 off 54 balls) to join their skipper in the fight for survival. Patel is the oldest of the trio at 23 years old, while Smith is 20 and Geddes still a teenager at 19.

"There were nervous moments but the way the youngsters played was the most pleasing thing," Amla said.

"Everyone was committed to the cause. You also need a lot of good fortune to go your way, especially on this wicket which was up and down. There was quite a bit of rough for the off-spinner as well, so you needed good fortune and fortunately it came our way. But the youngsters did a great job."

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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