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South Africa prepared the pitch, now we want to play: Ajinkya Rahane

Indian cricket team vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane asked why there wasn’t much concern about the pitch when the South Africa cricket team pacers were targeting short deliveries at their tail-enders by coming around the wicket.

cricket Updated: Jan 26, 2018 23:54 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, Johannesburg
India vs South Africa,Indian cricket team,South Africa cricket team
Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane plays a shot during the third day of the third Test match between South Africa and India at Wanderers cricket ground on January 26, 2018 in Johannesburg. (AFP)

The fate of the third Test hangs in balance with match referee Andy Pycroft stopping play after Dean Elgar was hit on the helmet but India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane asked why there wasn’t similar concern when the South Africa pacers were targeting short deliveries at their tail-enders by coming around the wicket. (IND v SA report)

“What about them bowling short balls to our bowlers? When Ishant, Bhuvi, Shami were batting, everyone was bowling bouncers. I don’t think it is a dangerous wicket. Yes it is a challenging wicket,” said Rahane at the press conference after the close of play. “They prepared this wicket. We never told them to prepare a track like this. We want to play.” (Highlights)

India team manager Sunil Subramanium said there was an indication at tea that the pitch could come under scanner if it became ‘dangerous’. “The match referee called me at tea time (saying that) in case the wicket got dangerous both the captains would be consulted.

“We had the view that the wicket has been the same on all three days. Today we had the highest strike rates and the least wickets. We would like to continue playing,” he said.

“The match referee was fearful that in case the new ball was going to be taken, it might behave dangerously. The ball that hit Dean Elgar on his helmet was the reason play was called off today. We are willing to play. Umpires are the final judges on the fitness of the ground, regardless of the views of either of the captains,” he said.

More significantly, there seems to be a difference of opinion over the ball that hit Elgar. South Africans insist it was a length ball but Indians say it was a half-tracker. Even TV replays show the same. “When the ball leaves from a length and hits someone in the face, that’s when the match officials (get involved). The ball that hit Elgar shot up from a good length,” said Moosajee.

South Africa coach Ottis Gibson said, “I don’t think we expected it to behave the way that it did. It started tough on the first day and it got a little worse. The one thing we have said - and everybody is making a big issue of grass - we’ve never asked for grass.

“We’ve asked for pace and bounce. Before you go on about India batting twice, there were balls taking off on a length and our captain was saying I am not sure this is fair either. It’s not like we are sour grapes,” he said.

First Published: Jan 26, 2018 23:40 IST