The trigger to take the players off was the third ball of the ninth over of South Africa’s second innings. Nineteen minutes before scheduled stumps, the umpires decided to go off as a Jasprit Bumrah delivery hit Dean Elgar on the grille of his helmet. The pitch had had exaggerated bounce and seam from the start, but on day three various batsmen took blows on the body.
The first official conversation regarding the condition of the pitch took place during the tea break on day two. Both team managers said they were briefed that it could get difficult to handle once the new ball was taken. India’s innings ended with the first ball of the second new ball, but South Africa had to start their innings against the new ball. Elgar was hit four times on the body during the eight-and-a-half-overs that were bowled.
India have made it clear both to the match referee and the media that they want to continue playing. South Africa have told the match referee that they won’t comment on whether they feel the pitch is safe or not. However, they have also said they will continue to play should the match referee deem the pitch safe.
As of now India stand in a dominant position in the match, having set South Africa 241 to win and taken one of their wickets early in the final innings. Their batsmen took more than a few blows to the body, but continued batting.
“This is the wicket they prepared We also batted on it… We can’t complain about this wicket Our aim is to play this Test, and our aim is to play… We all knew when we came to South Africa that we would get wickets like this,” said Sunil Subramaniam, India’s manager.
South Africa coach Otis Gibson said his team had not asked for such a pitch. All they had asked for, according to him, was pace and bounce. He also said they have not complained about the conditions or expressed a desire to not continue even once.
In the end, the officials have decided to carry on with the match as scheduled. More than 10,000 tickets have been sold for the fourth day’s play, which will be the first weekend day of the Test. None of the first three days have brought more than 8018 spectators to the ground.