Ajinkya Rahane

Dangerous Wanderers wicket forces umpires to call off play before stumps

[caption id="attachment_62213" align="aligncenter" width="580"]03e8c648-4391-4bbd-811a-30082c41aaee Umpires having a look at the wicket at the Wanderers. Image Source: BCCI[/caption]

Internet Desk: The day 3 of the third and final test match between South Africa and India at the Wanderers have been called off by the umpires and the match referee after they had a chat with Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis and India captain Virat Kohli. While chasing a formidable target of 241 set by the Indians the hosts were at 17 for 1 in 8.3 overs at the end of day’s play.

On a pitch which has been very tough to bat on, Proteas opener Dean Elgar was hit on his helmet by a bouncer bowled by India’s star pacer Jasprit Bumrah. Elgar looked in immense pain and the umpires immediately told the players to leave the field and called both the captains to the match commissioner's room. After the meeting they called off the day and a decision on the play ahead will be taken by the match referee and umpires.

While bowling India did strike very early with Shami's brilliant delivery which sent Markram back to the dressing room. Defying the pitch's tricks, another opener Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla survived, occasionally copping blows before it became one too many. Ironically, it was a delivery from Bumrah that didn't misbehave but hit Elgar’s helmet because of his poor technique and put a full stop on Day 3.

Earlier on Day 3, opener Lokesh Rahul fell cheaply on 16. Cheteshwar Pujara poor form on the Proteas soil didn't leave him again today as he went back to the pavilion after scoring just 1 run.

Kohli has had another magnificent match, leading his team well and managing to average almost 50 with the bat which is far better than anybody else has come close to achieving.

There is something reminiscent of the great Sir Vivian Richards in the way Kohli goes about his business. Nothing signified his intent better than his decision not to wear any obvious protective equipment apart from the prescribed protective helmet. This was against the background of most other batsmen wearing arm guards, chest protectors and the like regardless of their levels of skill.

India had lost two wickets early in the morning but, as always with Kohli, he suddenly made things look a lot easier and accelerated the scoring rate. He put on 43 for the fourth wicket with Murali Vijay before the latter was undone by a Kagiso Rabada yorker and there were further useful partnerships involving both their batting specialists and the lower order.

What was more important was that they were scoring their runs at the rate of four to the over and there was no letting up as the ball became softer and the bowlers started to tire.

Ajinkya Rahane and Bhuvneshwar Kumar added a further 55 for the seventh wicket and even Kumar and Mohammed Shami managed 35 for the eighth wicket.

Kumar has had a magnificent series in the two Test matches he has played both with bat and ball, being involved in key partnerships both at PPC Newlands and again here. In addition, his ability to swing the ball either way with equal facility has always troubled the Proteas top order.

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