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Monday 27 January 2020

The wicket is challenging, not dangerous, says Rahane

Johannesburg: Lifting doubts hovering over the third Test between India and South Africa, the Indian team management confirmed that the match will resume today.

The play was halted late in the final session owing to dangerous playing conditions as Dean Elgar was hit twice in one over by Jasprit Bumrah.

Players were taken off after a rising delivery from Mohammed Shami rattled Elgar’s helmet even as India wanted to continue with the game.

There were a lot of deliberations later after play got over with the match officials leaving the ground around 7 PM local time. It was reported that they had submitted their report to the ICC.

An hour later, confirmation came that the Test would continue as scheduled. South Africa is placed at 17 for one chasing 241 for victory.

Insisting that Indian players have played on worse tracks back home, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane termed the Wanderers’ pitch as challenging and not dangerous.

Rahane scored 48 off 68 balls as India finished with 247 runs in their second innings, setting a 241-run target for South Africa.

The play was halted in the last 15 minutes because Dean Elgar got hit twice in one over, never mind that the Indian batsmen took several blows through the day.

“The wicket was definitely challenging, but if you see our openers batted so well. The wicket was similar for both teams. Murali Vijay got 25 runs, and he faced 130-140 balls.

It was completely the same for everyone. Our approach was that we want to play and win this Test match,” Rahane said.

The Indian vice-captain said no one stopped South Africa bowlers from bowling bouncers to their tailenders in similar conditions.

“What about (the fact) when they were bowling short balls to our bowlers? The pitch behaved differently on all three days but when Ishant (Sharma), Bhuvneshwar (Kumar), (Mohammed) Shami and (Jasprit) Bumrah, they were batting and everyone was bowling bouncers,” Rahane asked.

Pitches were a huge subject of debate when South Africa toured India in 2015. Nagpur pitch was reported as unfit after the match finished in three days on a rank turner.

Rahane said that Indian cricketers have played on worse wickets than the Wanderers.

“And you cannot call it a dangerous wicket just because Elgar got hit. Most of the batsmen got hit, even Amla got hit in first innings, Vijay, Pujara batted well in 1st innings, Virat batted well, they got hit.”

Rahane said India never made excuses while batting in similar conditions.

“We never complained about it being a dangerous wicket. They prepared this wicket, we never told them to prepare a track like this. In India when we play on turning tracks, they are called more dangerous.

Talking about the ball which hit Elgar on the helmet, Rahane said,”I think the ball was back of a length and it kicked off.”

“Slightly more bounce than usual, but if you see the wicket and see the bounce here, it was completely natural.

Even when Bhuvi and I were batting, or Vijay was batting against the new ball, we faced the same. It is not dangerous, and it is completely similar to both teams, he added.



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