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09 December 2023

Vijay, Kohli defy bowlers and pitch

Photo: AFP


Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli took India further ahead on the third day of the third and final Test against South Africa despite increasing concern about the condition of the pitch.

India, seeking to prevent a whitewash in the three-match series, were 100 for four at lunch, an overall lead of 93.

The visitors lost two wickets in the first five overs of the morning but Vijay and Kohli showed resolve in difficult conditions to add 43 runs for the fourth wicket before Vijay was bowled by Kagiso Rabada with the last ball before lunch.

Only 51 runs were scored in 23.5 overs as the batsmen had to deal with unpredictable bounce and movement off a surface with numerous cracks and indentations.

Both Vijay and Kohli needed treatment after being struck on the gloves by balls that reared up off a good length.

While Vijay was being treated after being hit by a ball from Rabada, umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould, along with captains Kohli and Faf du Plessis, had a lengthy discussion after inspecting the area where the ball had pitched.

While the discussion was happening, former international players commentating on the game 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.