Amla says Nagpur pitch 'probably toughest' he has played on

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NAGPUR, India (AP) South Africa captain Hashim Amla called the Nagpur pitch ''probably the toughest'' he has played on after his team lost the third test and series to India on Friday.

India bowled out South Africa for 79 and 185 to win by 124 runs on the third day of the third test. India won the series 2-0 with a match to spare.

''These were probably the toughest three days of my test career,'' Amla said. ''The surface was probably the toughest I have had as well, and the cricket itself was really difficult. So credit to India, they kind of bowled well, and unfortunately we ended up on the wrong side of this game.''

South Africa's 79 in the first innings was its lowest ever score against India.

''It was disappointing in the first innings, not to get a score closer to them,'' Amla said ''I would think chasing 200 would have been more apt. The quality of the Indian spinners was certainly exceptional in these conditions, and you've got to give it to them.''

It was the first away series loss in nine years for South Africa, and dashed high expectations from the top-ranked test team, which had won a preceding five-game one-day international series 3-2 and a three-game Twenty20 series 2-0.

''It is very disappointing to lose a series, away from home, after nine years, and to be part of it, and I hope it doesn't happen again for us,'' Amla said.

He was still encouraged about the team's future from its current makeup.

''When I first started, South Africa as a team almost looked very similar to what it is at the moment,'' he said. ''We had some really great players in Jacques (Kallis) and Graeme (Smith), who were probably at their prime at that stage, and some young guns who were coming into the team. We're blooding a few younger guys.''

Playing in these conditions was challenging, he added, but the experience will benefit the team in the long run.

The final test is in New Delhi from Dec. 3-7.