Controversy has engulfed the third Test between South Africa and India, with umpires bringing day three to a premature close having deemed the pitch unsafe.
The Wanderers’ deck had the ball spitting and rising all day, but after India fought its way to 247, the catalyst for the decision was a delivery that reared off a length and hit South Africa’s Dean Elgar in the helmet.
Dean Elgar is hit in the helmet
At that point, the match referee came onto the ground, conferred with the umpires and ultimately took the players off the field.
Unsurprisingly — and understandably — the Indians were left unhappy at the belated decision by the officials.
“You cannot call it a dangerous wicket just because Elgar got hit,” Ajinkya Rahane said.
“Most of the batsmen got hit, even Amla got hit in [the] first innings, Vijay got hit. 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. They prepared this wicket so we want to play.”
South Africa coach Ottis Gibson was sympathetic to India, but agreed with the officials the pitch was too dangerous to bat on.
“We are here to play cricket. We still want to play cricket,” Gibson said.
“Throughout the whole game on both sides, you saw batsmen wearing a few. India didn’t complain and we didn’t either.
“When I spoke to Faf [Du Plessis] at lunch, he said that if a ball is going to hit you on the finger and the bowlers are bowling at 140 and you haven’t got time to react or respond or take evasive action, then the umpires have to think that they have to look after player safety.
“But obviously Dean got hit in the face when he wasn’t able to take evasive action, and there was one before that, that he went forward to, that he was going to leave, that bounced up and hit him on the hand.
“Once they [officials] tell us what the decision is, we’ll get on with it.”
Play is expected to start on time on day four, but the ICC confirmed the umpires would be monitoring the pitch throughout the rest of the match.
Australia and South Africa are scheduled to play the fourth Test of their upcoming series at Wanderers from March 30.