South African batsman Hashim Amla is hopeful of his team's victory in the first Test in Galle, despite Sri Lanka 's second innings lead is already a match-winning one.
South Africa very surprisingly succumbed in front of the South Sri Lanka as they were dismissed for 126 after Sri Lanka courtesy a Dimuth Karunarate unbeaten 158 posted 287 runs in the first innings. A total which seemed below par in the first innings, was made to look tall when the Sri Lankan bowlers sized up the Protean batting line-up sans AB de Villiers. His absence was badly felt in the middle order as South Africa felt exposed in front of Perera.
"Yes, [a lead of] 272 runs on that type of wicket is a lot of runs," Hashim Amla admitted after the second day's play on Friday (July 13). "If we can look to restrict them under 320 it will be a good target for us."
"If we can get a few good partnerships and one of us plays an innings like Karunaratne played it will get us close to that score," Amla remarked. "Any of the batsmen in the top six would love to occupy the crease for a long time to score the runs and to get us to the total we have to chase. Myself and everyone else would like to get stuck in and bat for as long as possible."
"The opener [Karunaratne] batted exceptionally well. It was an excellent knock which got them to the score that they got to. It is a tough wicket; you have to capitalize on the loose balls when you do get them and hope that the ball doesn't have your number on it. You always have to have the intent when you are batting."
Regarding facing the Sri Lankan spinners Amla tipped "You have to have decent defence to keep out the good ball, and you have to look to score," Amla said. "If you can combine those two, with a bit of fortune, it gives you the best chance of scoring."
Amla stressed on the factor of application in the second innings when they are set a target to chase. "The way everyone played, to be honest, I feel they applied themselves as best as they can. Batters from both teams have found it difficult to bat, barring one or two batsmen, so going into the second innings we have to keep playing with good intent and keep learning"
"We have played in conditions like this before and the scores are low, you don't get scores of 350 and above. You take some learning from it but you have to play the way the pitch allows you to play."
(Inputs from Cricbuzz)