England v South Africa: Hashim Amla is Graeme Swann's target

England bowler Graeme Swann believes the early dismissal of South Africa batsman Hashim Amla will be key to their chances of winning the second Test at Headingley.

The 29-year-old hit 311 not out as the tourists cruised to an innings win in the first Test at the Oval.

"He was in an almost zen-like state for that 300," Swann told BBC Look North.

"We need to get him early because he's a guy who likes sitting in and batting for a long time."

The Nottinghamshire spinner added: "His form looks imperious at the moment and we were all very impressed by him.

"He's been in stunning form these last two years and he's carried that into this series."

Amla's score saw him become the first South African to record a Test triple century and drew plaudits from across the game, including from former Yorkshire and England batsman Geoffrey Boycott.

Meanwhile, Swann has tipped his Nottinghamshire team-mate James Taylor to adapt well to international cricket after he was called up for his Test debut.

The 22-year-old batsman has replaced the off-form Ravi Bopara, who is unavailable for personal reasons.

"He [Taylor] is good off the front and back foot and he can deal with all kinds of bowling. He has the attributes to be a world-class batsman," said Swann.

"He'll be nervous and he'll be excited but I'm sure he'll be ready and raring to go. He's a cracking player and a lovely lad as well."

A win for South Africa would clinch the three-Test series and lift them above England to the top of the International Cricket Council rankings.external-link

But Swann, 33, is hopeful that vocal support from the Headingley crowd can help them return to winning ways.

"It was a disappointing defeat so everyone has been really looking forward to this," he added.

"We always get a good and very boisterous crowd here so we hope they can cheer us on to a better performance and result.

"We have to win here to win the series outright and hopefully with a vociferous Yorkshire crowd behind us we can do that."

Top Stories