Saturday 1 October 2016

Finn in optimistic mood despite epic Amla fightback

Rory Dollard

Published 05/01/2016 | 02:30

Hashim Amla, right, of the Proteas celebrates his century during day three of the second Test match between South Africa and England. Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Hashim Amla, right, of the Proteas celebrates his century during day three of the second Test match between South Africa and England. Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Steven Finn is convinced England can still manage a victory push in the second Test despite missed chances restricting their progress in Cape Town to a crawl.

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The tourists toiled away for 87 overs against South Africa on day three but Finn's dismissal of AB de Villiers for 88 was all they had to show for their endeavours.

Home captain Hashim Amla lingered from first ball until last on his way to 157 not out, eking out 94 runs in six and a half hours, to lead his side to 353-3.

England still boast a healthy first-innings advantage, having made 629-6 declared, but much more of the same from Amla, who was dropped on 76 and 120, would make the draw a near certainty.

But Finn, who turned in the day's most consistent bowling effort by a distance, painted an optimistic picture.

"We've come in with only one wicket in the day, which is not ideal, but there are still smiles on people's faces knowing we're a long way ahead in this game," he said.

"We're still 276 runs in front. It's going to take a very good morning session from us to be able to put South Africa under pressure on that last day but we're not ruling it out.

"We have to keep trucking, we have to keep trying to force mistakes and play attritional cricket and I actually think we've done that really well so far.

"We're still a long way ahead of the game because we haven't let South Africa get away from us. A good session in the morning and who knows what might happen?"

At one stage Alastair Cook was so eager to force a breakthrough that he tossed the ball to opening batsman Alex Hales.

That surprised his childhood friend Finn as much as anyone, and he offered a blunt assessment of the surprise three-over spell.

"Me and Alex actually opened the bowling for Hertfordshire U-12s together and that was the last time I saw him bowl," he said.

"They were filthy seamers then and now they're filthy off-spinners. Watching Alex bowl is not something I'd want to do again."

Meanwhile, Chris Gayle has been criticised by the head of the Big Bash and by his own club after asking a female journalist out for a drink during an interview.

The West Indian was being questioned by Channel 10 reporter Mel McLaughlin after his dismissal for Melbourne Renegades against Hobart Hurricanes in the 20-over competition when he suggested they should go out at the end of the match.

"I wanted to see your eyes for the first time, hopefully we can win this game and then we can have a drink after as well," he said.

Gayle (36) then added to McLaughlin: "Don't blush, baby."

Anthony Everard, the head of the Big Bash League, has told Gayle - effectively now a Twenty20 gun-for-hire - that there is no place for his comments.

"I heard Chris' comments and they're disrespectful and simply inappropriate," Everard said in a statement.

South Africa v England, Live, Sky Sports 2, 8.30

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