India Vs South Africa 3rd Test: Dread rubber

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Dean Elgar needed a concussion test after being hit on the grille by a Jasprit Bumrah bouncer. On-field umpires Ian Gould and Aleem Dar had stopped play because they wanted to consult with match referee Andy Pycroft if the Wanderers pitch was too dangerous for the third Test between South Africa and India in January last year to continue.

It was only the third time in the history of Test cricket that a match had been stopped because the umpires weren’t satisfied with the condition of the pitch. Eventually, after Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli met the match officials, it was decided that the game would continue. India went on to win by 63 runs on a pitch which at times virtually took the mickey out of the batsmen from both sides. Kohli’s team showed courage and character to bounce back after losing the first two Tests of the three-match series.

Cut to the present, and the JSCA International Stadium at Ranchi would be hosting the third Test between the two teams from Saturday. India have already won the first two of the series but an India-like comeback, a la Jo’burg, looks well-nigh impossible from the Proteas here. A depleted squad hampers their chances all right, but that’s just a side story. With the JSCA pitch unlikely to offer any unpredictability, the visitors will have very little ‘elbow room’ to cause an upset. On a level playing field, Kohli’s India are head and shoulders above du Plessis’s South Africa in terms of quality.