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News

Test match set to resume after uneven-bounce deliberations

The umpires took the players off 19 minutes before scheduled stumps on day three because of concerns over their safety, but after a meeting between the match referee and the two captains, it has been decided to resume play as scheduled on day four

Sidharth Monga and Firdose Moonda in Johannesburg
26-Jan-2018
The Wanderers Test will continue as scheduled on day four. There was uncertainty over the future of the match when umpires took the players off 19 minutes before scheduled stumps on day three because of concerns over their safety on a spicy pitch. The pitch has had exaggerated bounce and seam right from the start of the match, but on day three various batsmen copped blows to their bodies against balls kicking up off a good length.
The ball that finally prompted the umpires to halt play was one from Jasprit Bumrah that hit Dean Elgar in the grille of the helmet. The two captains then met the match referee. India made it clear they wanted to continue playing, and South Africa didn't express a preference either way but said they would continue playing if the match referee deemed the pitch safe to play on.
The match officials first had a conversation regarding the pitch with the teams during the tea break on day three, when it was expressed to the two managers that the new ball could behave dangerously. The decision to take players off was the umpires'. The match referee was then briefed, and he consulted both the captains.
The protocol is to continue only if both the captains agree to play on. If the decision is not to play, then it is seen if the pitch can be repaired without - in the view of the match referee - disadvantaging any side. There will be no repairs on this pitch except for the customary light roller at the start of the day's play. A light roller was used on the pitch on day three too.
The ICC later sent out a statement via Twitter, confirming an on-time start on day four:
"The on-field umpires, in consultation with the match referee, and after speaking with both the captains and groundsmen, have decided that the Johannesburg Test will resume on time on Saturday. The on-field umpires will continue to monitor the pitch, and consult the match referee should the pitch deteriorate further. The welfare of the players is paramount and two of the most experienced match officials are in charge of the game and will take appropriate decisions.
"Play on Friday was suspended shortly before scheduled close because the on-field umpires wanted to consult the match referee regarding the condition of the pitch."