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27 Enero 2018, 05:08 | Martinez Canez
The pitch for the Johannesburg Test has offered favourable conditions to pace bowlers leading to India being bowled out for 187 on Day 1
The on-field umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould took the decision to stop the game after Dean Elgar was hit on the helmet by a rising delivery from Jasprit Bumrah during South Africa's second innings, late in the day, after India had scored 247 runs in their second innings leaving the hosts with a target of 241 runs.
The prospect of a green pitch at The Wanderers has seen both South Africa and, suprisingly, India go into the third and final Test with no front-line spinners between them. "I don't think it is a unsafe wicket, yes, it is a challenging wicket", Rahane said.
The Mumbai batsman said that India tailenders also had to deal with short deliveries and they batted without raising any objections over the pitch.
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.
Dean Elgar first dropped Bhuvneshwar on 15 at gully off Morkel in the 59th over and then six balls later, Andile Phehlukwayo dropped Rahane on 38 at deep point off Rabada. He and Amla survived a torrid first hour during which Kumar in particular was nearly unplayable in a spell of one for one in six overs. He began the Test with a spell of 8-7-1-1, the most economical first eight overs for a South Africa bowler in all Tests since readmission.
Match referee Andy Pycroft then met the field umpires and two captains, they decided that pitch is not unsafe enough to abandon the game.
The combination of a harder pitch (and cracks) and a shiny new ball was always going to be a recipe for trouble and it came as no surprise that the ball was back to its extraordinary misbehaving ways when South Africa put the pads on. "Our approach is that we want to play and we want to win this Test match", Rahane told reporters after the day's play in Johannesburg. "We would like play to continue". 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. "We are willing to play", Sunil Subramaniam said post the day's play. He contributed individually 48 but in tandem with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, he added 55 runs for the seventh wicket to further India's chances in the Test. They need to take as many wickets as possible when the red cherry possesses the shine.
However, the basis for Friday's decision was based on two early incidents involving India captain Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay. Also in danger will be the fourth Test in the South Africa vs Australia series, scheduled to start on March 30. "When me and Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] were batting, we were not thinking about the wicket but focusing on the delivery". The umpires would continue to monitor the pitch, the ICC said.
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