IND vs SA: Ajinkya Rahane stretches India lead on 'dangerous' pitch

Updated: Jan 26, 2018, 21:28 IST | Agencies

Ajinkya Rahane batted aggressively as India stretched their lead on a difficult pitch on the third day of the third and final Test against South Africa at the Wanderers Stadium on Friday

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane batted aggressively as India stretched their lead on a difficult pitch on the third day of the third and final Test against South Africa at the Wanderers Stadium on Friday. India, fighting to avoid a 3-0 series whitewash, were 199 for six at tea, an overall lead of 192 on a pitch described as "dangerous" by ex India captain Sunil Gavaskar.

Rahane, who was not selected for the first two Tests, made 46 not out off 57 balls, showing skill and courage on a pitch of unpredictable bounce and deviation. Rahane shared useful partnerships of 34 with Virat Kohli (41) for the fifth wicket and an unbeaten 51 for the seventh wicket with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (23 not out). Both partnerships were marked by good running between the wickets and attacking strokes when the bowlers strayed in line or length.

Kagiso Rabada took three for 59, including superb deliveries to bowl Murali Vijay and Kohli, but the bowlers generally were inconsistent, while two catches went down in successive overs. Dean Elgar put down a straightforward catch at gully off Morne Morkel when Kumar had 15 and the total was on 178, then Rahane was dropped at deep point by Andile Phehlukwayo off Kagiso Rabada when he was on 38 and the total was 180.

With the ball sometimes rearing off a good length and hitting batsmen on the gloves, umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould held several discussions while inspecting the areas where the ball had landed. Groundsman Bethuel Buthelezi and some local officials were seen going into match referee Andy Pycroft's office during the lunch break, while former international players in the television commentary box wondered whether the conditions were getting too dangerous for play to continue. "It's almost an accident waiting to happen," said former South African captain Kepler Wessels.

Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding recalled a Test between the West Indies and England in Jamaica in 1998 which was abandoned because of a dangerous pitch. "That was a total fiasco, this isn't far off," he said. Gavaskar said: "This is a dangerous pitch."

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