South Africa's Hashim Amla vows to lead batting charge after quitting captaincy

Ross McLean
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South Africa v England - Second Test: Day Five
Amla won four of his 14 Test matches in charge (Source: Getty)

South Africa batsman Hashim Amla has vowed to hit top form and prove a thorn in England’s side after his shock decision to relinquish the captaincy following his side’s draw in the second Test in Cape Town yesterday.

England suffered a top-order collapse and slipped to 116-6 before Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali halted the flurry of wickets and bad light brought a premature end to the day’s play. The tourists retain a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.

Amla announced his surprise decision to quit as captain just minutes after the conclusion of the Newlands Test, while AB de Villiers was immediately installed as caretaker skipper for the remainder of the series.

The 32-year-old led South Africa’s response to England’s mammoth first-innings score of 629-6 declared with an obdurate and timely double century, the first time he had reached three figures since December 2014.

“Naturally this decision is not an easy one but the more I think about it the more I believe I can be of greater value to the Proteas as a fully-focussed batsman and senior player at this time of rebuilding,” said Amla, who won four of his 14 Tests in charge.

“I feel there is a greater need to work on my own game thus giving me the opportunity to continue contributing like I have done previously.”

De Villiers, whose own Test future remains in doubt amid suggestions of post-series retirement, immediately homed the spotlight on South Africa overturning their 1-0 deficit in the remaining matches in Johannesburg and Centurion.

“At the moment my priority and focus is placed on leading this team to what can be a memorable series win against England,” he said.

The draw was always the likeliest outcome in Cape Town although England contrived to make life difficult for themselves and hint at becoming the first team to lose a Test having scored 600 runs in the first innings.

The tourists slumped to 116-6 at one stage, a lead of 118 with more than 50 overs to play. Openers Alastair Cook and Alex Hales fell cheaply, while Joe Root and Nick Compton rallied slightly before departing.

Cook has now scored just 42 runs in four innings in South Africa, compared to 450 in three Tests against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates during the autumn.

Following his swashbuckling first-innings double ton, Ben Stokes was forced to adopt a more moderate approach, although he and James Taylor were snared in quick succession by off-spinner Dane Piedt, before England’s batting depth and bad light proved telling.

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