Only one of them was a specialist batsman.
Hashim Amla’s 61 was a world-class knock. It proved why he is considered one of the greatest batsmen of his generation and, more importantly, it has kept South Africa in this Test as they look to secure a 3-0 series whitewash over India.
But, unfortunately for the hosts, Amla had no support from any of the other South African top order.
The contributions from the batsmen were: Dean Elgar (4), Aiden Markram (2), AB de Villiers (6), Faf du Plessis (8) and Quinton de Kock (8).
Instead, the support came in the form of night-watchman Kagiso Rabada (30) and all-rounder Vernon Philander (35).
It was those three knocks that were responsible for the bulk of the runs in South Africa’s first innings total of 194 all out.
Rabada had come in at No 3 towards the end of day one and had to endure a tricky little period to protect his more accomplished team-mates.
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He did that, and when he returned to the crease on Wednesday morning, nobody expected him to last long.
Elgar went early, and then Rabada was joined by Amla.
Together, that pair put on a priceless 64-run stand for the third wicket.
Rabada looked nothing like a man who has a top Test score of 34.
He left and defended with ease, while some of his boundaries oozed class.
He was eventually caught in the slips off Ishant Sharma for 30, but in these conditions and given the match scenario, his knock was worth far more than that.
“He batted very well,” Amla said of Rabada’s efforts.
“On wickets like this, the element of fortune probably comes in a lot more with playing and missing, so any batter can get out at any stage.
“He kept good intensity and we saw a few flair shots towards the end there, which was amazing.
“For him to get 30 in conditions like that with quality bowlers and a difficult wicket … he’s slowly turning into a really handy batsman for us.”
In this match, which will not go into day five unless the weather has its say, Amla acknowledged that runs from the lower order would be crucial.
“In these close matches, we see the value of the lower order,” he said.
“Morne (Morkel) is always putting time in the nets, so is Lungi (Ngidi).
“Runs at the bottom are extremely valuable because every run counts on these types of wickets.”
India will resume day three on 49/1, 42 runs ahead of South Africa.
— Sport24 Wire