The Wanderers pitch on offer for the third cricket Test on Friday between India and South Africa drew a sharp criticism for the surface being “dangerous” for the play. The two umpires – Ian Gould and Aleem Dar – who officiated the third and final Test decided that Day 4 will start on schedule Saturday, reported the Indian Express. As many as three Indian and one South African batsmen were hit on day three as the ball rose from good length area. The play was called off 19 minutes early on Friday on the third day at the Wanderers when opener Dean Elgar was hit on the visor of his helmet by a rising delivery from pacer Jasprit Bumrah. Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay were also hit on their hands in the morning session, in the 31st and 35th overs respectively, while Ajinkya Rahane was hit too post lunch, in the 58th over.
During tea, the umpires along with match referee Andy Pycroft, had called representatives of the two teams to explain that they would stop play if they deemed the pitch to be dangerous for batsmen. However, after umpires called off players early on Day 3 after deeming the pitch unsafe to play, India vs South Africa Test will resume as normal on Day 4, i.e. today.
However, calling the pitch challenging, not dangerous, the day’s top-scorer Ajinkya Rahane was quoted as saying, “You cannot call it a dangerous wicket just because Elgar got hit. Most of the batsmen got hit, even (Hashim) Amla got hit in first innings… Vijay, (Cheteshwar) Pujara batted well in the first innings, Virat batted well, they got hit. We never complained about it being a dangerous wicket. We just said it is a challenging wicket. They prepared this wicket, we never told them to prepare a track like this.”
While Indian manager Subramanium said, “There has been exaggerated bounce on this wicket but the ball to Elgar was not the one that cut (back) alarmingly. This is what has been happening the last three days. So there was nothing new.” In contrast, South African manager Mohammad Moosajee said Elgar was done in by the spicy wicket. When the home team manager was asked about the most-talked ball of the day, he said, “The ball that hit Dean Elgar shot off a good length.”