Indian batsmen were not afraid to take blows on their bodies on a difficult Wanderers pitch, offering dangerous bounce, even as match officials called off third day’s play when South Africa batted in similar conditions later, here on Friday.
South Africa opener Dean Elgar was hit on the grill of his helmet by a Jasprit Bumrah delivery in the ninth over of the hosts second innings, prompting umpires to halt play. The physio rushed to the pitch and Elgar was seen placing an ice-pack on his forehand.
Umpires Ian Gould and Aleem Dar began discussion and soon match referee Andy Pycroft joined them on the ground. They initiated deliberations with both the captains, players were called off the ground and play never resumed after that.
Chasing a stiff 241, the hosts ended the day three 17 for one in 8.3 overs. They lost other opener Aiden Markram (4), caught behind off Shami.
Ajinkya Rahane, whose exclusion from the first two Tests led to severe criticism of team’s selection policy, showed what Indian team missed out earlier in the series with his dogged 48-run knock.
The diminutive batsman was not perturbed after being consistently hit on his arms and dismissal of skipper Virat Kohli (41) as he raised a match-defining 55-run stand with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (33).
Before Rahane, opener Murali Vijay (25) and Kohli were also hit on their hands. The on-field umpires were seen discussing the pitch condition, being consistently criticised by the commentators, but never halted play.
Rahane and Bhuneshwar’s seventh wicket partnership coupled with some lusty blows from Mohammed Shami (27) in a splendid rearguard action meant that India managed to put on board 247, setting the visitors a stiff 241-run target.
South Africa 194 and 17 for 1 need another 224 runs to beat India 187 and 247 (Rahane 48, Kohli 41, Bhuvneshwar 33, Morkel 3-47).