The Proteas are staring down the barrel.
As it stands, they’re in line to surrender a Test and One Day International series on home soil to the same team for the first time since 2002.
Victory in today’s game against England at Centurion will ensure that they stay alive in the five match series after falling short in Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth last week.
“It would be a blow, there’s no doubt about it. During the Test matches we had a lot of setbacks in terms of injuries and a few other things and didn’t play our best cricket. Similarly in one day cricket we haven’t performed this tour,” Hashim Amla said yesterday.
“It would be a blow for us to not win the series but we’re not thinking about that. For us it’s the next game, we win this, get some momentum for the next one and then hopefully win the one in Cape Town,” he added of the win-or-bust scenario.
“It’s a massive motivating factor because we want to win the series. It’s basically the decider for us. We’ve got three finals in a row. Everybody is very hungry.”
With regards to the makeup of the side there has been a lot of emphasis placed on the fact that the bowling effort hasn’t been too inspiring since the switch to white ball cricket with the fifth bowler option a particular talking point.
Till now, JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien have shared the responsibility but their figures haven’t exactly inspired much confidence.
Duminy is 0/75 in the nine overs he’s bowled while Behardien has 1/80 having bowled 11 overs in the series.
“I know theres been a lot of chat about having five frontline bowlers. I think JP and Fudgie have tried their best to contain as many runs as they can but we know England are a team that bat very deep. AB has tried to juggle it as best he can but I’m not sure what they’ve decided,” Amla said when asked whether the option to go with five frontline bowlers was possible for this encounter.
“But certainly having five frontline bowlers in this day and age on the flat wickets we’ve come across, especially in the first game, does push an argument for that but as I said it’s difficult to comment on what the brain’s trust is thinking.”
For now though, the opening batsman is more concerned with scoring some runs and turning the side’s fortunes around as they fight to avoid going three nil down.
“It’s important I get runs every game. We’ve had seven batters for a long time and it’s been important for those seven batters to take responsibility and score the runs for the team and not leave it for nine 10 and 11.”
“We’ve played some good cricket at times. Certainly have felt there was an improvement from the first game although we were still in with a shout. Hopefully we can put it all together at once and do it consecutively for three matches in a row.”
“Whatever the case is we’ve got to bring our best game and that’s got to be the order of the day for us.”