Inconsistent bounce leaves Johannesburg game in uncertainty

India's Ajinkya Rahane takes evasive action
India's Ajinkya Rahane takes evasive action
©REUTERS
 

South Africa 194 & 17-1 (Elgar 11no) v
India 187 & 247 (Rabada 3-69)
Third Test, Johannesburg, day three
Scorecard

Uneven bounce at New Wanderers Stadium has created an uncertainty on the result of the third Test match between India and South Africa in Johannesburg despite the game being evenly poised heading into the fourth day.

The batsmen were hit throughout the day with deliveries bowled fractionally short climbing high and finally, at the stroke of stumps, the match referee stepped in and had a discussion with both the teams' captains leading to a premature end on the third day. It is understood that the match referee will soon release a statement on the course of action.

Indian pacers trouble Elgar, castle Markram defending 241

Chasing 241 to win the game, South Africa had a shaky start to the innings when Mohammad Shami (1-7) had Aiden Markram (4) caught behind and in the next over, Dean Elgar (11 not out) was hit on the glove. The introduction of Jasprit Bumrah (0-2) further complicated Elgar's stay as he was hit on the thigh and helmet in the first and third deliveries respectively which led to the play being suspended for the day following intervention from the match referee. South Africa still need 224 more runs to win with nine wickets in hand, if the play does go forward.

Kohli resist after initial South Africa burst

Earlier, India resumed the day with a score of 49 for one, having a lead of 42 runs. Things did not go as per the plan for the visitors as Vernon Philander (3-61) and Morne Morkel (3-47) removed Lokesh Rahul (16) and Cheteshwar Pujara (1) early. Virat Kohli (41) held one end up amid the pitch behaving odd with uneven bounces creating concerns about a call-off. At the stroke of lunch, Murali Vijay's (25) 127-ball vigil ended when Kagiso Rabada (3-69) castling him. India went into lunch with a score of 100 for four.

Rahane plays decisive knock

Ajinkya Rahane (48) decided to counterattack the South African attack and looked in fluent touch as Kohli was settling at the other end. Rahane's strokes were so pleasing to watch as he looked a class apart as India started to accumulate the runs. However, Rabada once again turned the game on its head when he castled Kohli and also took a return catch to send Hardik Pandya (4) back. However, Rahane continued to press on and added another 58 runs with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (33) before he was dismissed as India raised their lead close to 200 runs.

Lower order lift India's total and morale

Just as South Africa were looking to bowl India out contributions from Bhuvneshwar and Shami (27) that included three boundaries and two sixes combined lifted the score to 247, setting a target of 241 for the Proteas. South Africa also were sloppy in the fielding as they dropped Bhuvneswar in the slips and Rahane at deep backward point.

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