Amla: South African spirit is always there

Hashim Amla is banking on South Africa’s strength of character shining through in Cape Town as they aim to level their four-Test series with England.

The number-one ranked Test side have come in for plenty of criticism, after following up a 3-0 series defeat to India with a below-par performance against England in Durban.

Alastair Cook’s side overcame losing the toss to prevail by a healthy margin of 241 runs, putting further pressure on a Proteas side that has endured particular struggles with the bat.

Yet ahead of the second Test starting at Newlands on Saturday, Amla, whose own form has been poor, said: “One of the strengths of this team is we’ve got a very strong belief. We’ve managed to bounce back in whatever form of cricket.

“There’s quite a few members of our team who have been part of that, and the youngsters that are in the team – they’ve kind of latched on very nicely.

“So to remain positive is a challenge sometimes. But South African spirit is always there. And I think we’re very fortunate that we’re certainly going to have a bunch of guys who are hungry to set things right.

“I think we didn’t show what we’re capable of in the first game. And the challenge is to turn it around. And that’s what we want to do.”

The Proteas can take heart from a strong record in Cape Town, with Amla adding: “I think most of the guys here love playing at Newlands. It’s been a successful hunting ground for us. It’s a beautiful venue.

“But taking all that into consideration, it’s about that you do on the pitch. And that’s what our focus has been.

“It’s trying to reassess and refocus on what we know we can do well. And yeah, [it’s a] great venue, great history that we’ve had here. But it’s the present that’s most important.”

Cook said England will not take additional motivation from aiming to record a first win in Cape Town since 1957.

“Not really, it gives you satisfaction at the end of it, once you achieve it,” said the England skipper.

“None of us were playing in those games, I’ve only played here once, so there isn’t much to do with us, but it proves how comfortable South Africa are when they play at Cape Town. Obviously it’s their home of cricket.

“It’s an iconic ground and a great place to play, I’m really looking forward to the week. We will just focus on the six days ahead of us, rather than what happened 50 years ago, but it would be great if we could change that.”

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