Saturday, 15 December, 2018

3rd Test to resume on Day 4

Indian players watch the big screen waiting for the third umpire to review an LBW decision during the second day of the third Test against South Africa at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Thursday 3rd Test to resume on Day 4
| 27 January, 2018, 20:31

Ajinkya Rahane batted aggressively as India stretched their lead on a hard pitch on the third day of the third and final Test against South Africa at the Wanderers Stadium on Friday.

The third day of the third Test between South Africa and India was called-off early after a long discussion by the match umpires with the respective team captains following the incident where a back of a length delivery from Jasprit Bumrah hit Deal Elgar on his helmet. It got so bad that the players had to leave the field for fear of the batsmen's safety, and the match flirted with becoming just the second Test in history to be abandoned because of a unsafe surface. On a few occasions the ball apparently kept low at the New Wanderers Stadium.

Commentators were quick to point out there was actually little wrong with the bounce off Bumrah's delivery on this occasion, given how short it was pitched but there is little doubt the surface can be described as unsafe.

It has been described "dangerous", and "challenging" as teams struggled to bat with batsmen being struck on fingers and body. Play for the day was called off, and the future of the match remained uncertain. I think both teams thought it was a good pitch. They began the day effectively 42 for 1, having lost only their pinch-hitter Parthiv Patel.

Vernon Philander (3-61) and Morne Morkel (3-47) chipped in with wickets for the home side. Resuming the day at 49/1, India had a torrid start, losing Lokesh Rahul (16) and Cheteshwar Pujara (1) early to be reduced to 57/3.

Opener Elgar had already hit 11 runs from 32 balls when he faced the delivery.

Kohli (on 4) got a life, when Markram could not latch on to a tough half-chance at short leg off Morkel. "And to contribute to the team's success is a good feeling", Bumrah said.


Vijay, at the other end, was resolute, backing his defensive technique to the hilt.

In January 1998, England were 17 for three against the West Indies at Sabina Park in Jamaica when the umpires stopped play because of a risky pitch. Rahane - who was dropped in the initial two Tests raising questions on the Indian team selection - shone bright in the second session, while Kohli perished for 41. "I was just thinking about going aggressive, if the ball is there to be hit, I will play my shot and that's it".

The India vice-captain said this sort of wicket was expected. No India captain has made as many runs as Kohli has in this series.

Before you talk about padding and arm guards and helmets, you must watch a net session and watch from up close these Test cricketers face bouncers chucked at them by the sidearm. He hit a six off Bhuvneshwar before Ngidi was caught behind off Shami.

Rahane said that the ball that hit Elgar wasn't unusual. Rahane's counterattack at the other end was nothing short of sensational.

The Saurashtra batsman continued to dig deep, reaching his 17th Test fifty off 179 deliveries but was immediately dismissed caught behind by Quinton de Kock off Phehlukwayo.

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