The play on the third day of the third Test between India and South Africa was called off after the hosts complained of pitch being incredibly dangerous. The play was called off after a delivery from Jasprit Bumrah hit Dean Elgar’s helmet.
Chasing 241, South Africa were 17 for 1 when Elgar was hit with a short pitch delivery by the Indian pacer. Elgar was earlier struck on his hand by Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the third over of their second innings. However, it was Bumrah’s strike that prompted the umpires to call off the play.
Former West Indies player and himself a fast bowler of repute, Michael Holding, told PTI that the Wanderers’ pitch was ‘dangerous.’
“This pitch, I think, is dangerous. I would hate to be a batsman on this pitch given what I am seeing happening out there at the moment on the third day of a Test match.
“Look, I am happy with lateral movement, like we saw in the first Test (at Cape Town). I have no problem with that. But when balls start exploding off a length and people start getting hit left, right and centre, I don’t think that’s a good pitch,” he was quoted by PTI.
The decision to call off the third day’s play was taken in consultation with the Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, and his South African counterpart, Faf du Plessis, after Elgar was hit thrice in as many overs.
Former Indian batting great, Sunil Gavaskar, was incensed with the decision to call off the play. A livid Gavaskar told PTI, “The Indian batsmen should be commended for scoring 240-odd because it is a difficult pitch no doubt. No batsman can feel certain on a wicket like this and the unpredictable bounce makes it dangerous as well. But I don’t think the match should be abandoned.”
Indian batsmen too had their own share of difficulties while batting earlier in their second innings. Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli were 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. No wonder Rahane was angry with the play being called off.
“New ball is challenging but you cannot call it dangerous, When Amla got 60, no one talked about pitch. Everybody talked about how he played. I hope Elgar is fine, but I don’t think pitch is too dangerous. I don’t know what the ICC is going to do, but as a team our focus is to get on with the game,” Rahane was quoted by Cricbuzz.
On social media, users mocked South African players for being ‘cowards.’
Utter rubbish. The umpires and match ref walked straight into Elgar’s dramatics. This is poor from SA and even poorer from the fools masquerading as officials – making them officially foolish.#SAvsIND
— Gaurav Sethi (@BoredCricket) January 26, 2018
So what’s the difference of this pitch than earlier today? Sunny G is right. If the umpires were going to call it off, then it should have been done earlier…. but India battled through it. Now SA should have to do the same.. sadly Elgar didn’t play it well.
— Dean Jones (@ProfDeano) January 26, 2018
So #elgar plays a bouncer poorly and they abandon the match ? What a bunch of losers #SouthAfrica they made this wicket to out do us and we outplayed them … our batsmen roughed it out on this wicket this is such a. Shame poor sportsmanship
— Harshvardhan Kapoor (@HarshKapoor_) January 26, 2018
— Sir Ravindra Jadeja (@SirJadeja) January 26, 2018
Elgar gets hit. No sympathy for any of them sorry. You got this prepared, face the music.
— Saurabh Malhotra (@MalhotraSaurabh) January 26, 2018
Of course Faf didn’t want such extreme decks but earlier, they were happy to have Morkel bowl short from round the wicket to Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Where did the players concern go then? This ball which hit Elgar was played badly, the pitch has been misbehaving since ages.
— Nikhil ? (@CricCrazyNIKS) January 26, 2018