Fresh criticism of the Wanderers pitch for the third Test between South Africa and India has continued to come in.
Commentator Michael Holding described the pitch as “dangerous”, and said “call it off, forget it”.
Several batsmen have been hit on the hand or in the chest over the course of the game, with the bounce notably uneven.
Holding went on to say: “the last time I saw something like this, the match was abandoned – Jamaica 1998, and it didn’t even last this long.” In that Test, play was abandoned after 10.1 overs, with England 17/3. Seamers Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose hit Alec Stewart and Graeme Thorpe’s bodies repeatedly, as the ball rose dangerously off a length.
While the pitch at the Wanderers has not been quite that bad, there is no doubt that it has made batting very tough.
Kepler Wessels, another commentator for the game, said: “The unfortunate thing is that nobody minds movement off the surface, but it’s the uneven bounce that’s the problem and it is quite dangerous from a batting point of view when you have pace attacks bowling around the 140 mark, tall bowlers hitting the deck hard.
“It is dangerous and it’s not ideal. I have seen pitches like this around the world but, as we keep saying, you want a good contest between bat and ball and this one is not providing that.”
Hashim Amla, whose first-innings 61 is the highest score of the match, said it was “quite a spicy wicket”.
However, he suggested that it was no bad thing for the wicket to favour bowlers, criticising the flat wickets often seen in Test cricket around the world.
“Sometimes we get onto wickets that are pretty flat and you can score lots of runs. [Here] it is just quite difficult to bat,” he said.
“Whether it’s too excessive or not, if you ask a batsman what do you think they will say?”
The ICC’s regulations state that if the on-field umpires decide that it is dangerous or unreasonable for play to continue on the match pitch, they shall stop play and immediately advise the ICC Match Referee.
After consultations with the captains and attempts to fix the pitch, the decision can then be made to abandon play. India set South Africa a fourth-innings target of 241 to win, and are odds-on with cricket betting sites to win the Test.
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