Amla 'drained' by battling draw

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South Africa captain Hashim Amla was impressed with the way his side came together to draw the second Test against Sri Lanka, playing catch-up cricket for most of the match, but said it was difficult to watch.

South Africa captain Hashim Amla was impressed with the way his side came together to draw the second Test against Sri Lanka, playing catch-up cricket for most of the match, but said it was difficult to watch.

Amla was the star batsman for the Proteas, batting for nearly nine hours in the match and scoring a vital century in the first innings. On day five he batted for three hours for just 25 runs as the Proteas drew with two wickets in hand.

Amla, who was not batting at the close, said after the match: "We knew that to win a series here, there would be certain times when we would reach our breaking point and we almost did.

"But there is resilience. We are a South African team who are very proud and passionate. We always want to go down fighting.

"The way we batted today, we tried our best to hang in there. You may not win the game but the character you show is the most important thing.

"When you looked at this Test, it was almost a mirror image of the first Test but the roles were reversed. To win a Test match you're always on the upper hand.

"You don't have the pressure of wickets falling maybe but having stuck out a draw, it has a lot more character building because of the way everybody applied themselves.

"There was definitely nerves, tension, biting of fingernails in the changeroom. It was emotionally draining."

The skipper had special words for all-rounder Vernon Philander, who faced 98 balls at the end and was not out, blocking solidly with a four here and there to see the side to safety.

Amla said: "Vernon had a brilliant game all round – the way he bowled was brilliant and so was the way he batted in a pressure situation. Vernon has been a high-pressure person for us for a while."

The draw ensured a series win for the Proteas, and they thus reclaimed the number one Test ranking off Australia.

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