Amla, Elgar resist India on fourth morning


10:30

The highlights from a riveting third day’s play at the Wanderers, dominated by uneven bounce and players taking blows to the body

South Africa 194 and 69 for 1 (Elgar 29*, Amla 27*, Shami 1-15) need another 172 runs to beat India 187 and 247
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The wildly fascinating and dangerous Wanderers Test continued the rollercoaster ride in the first session of the fourth day with Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla courageously fronting up and ending the truncated first session with an unbeaten 64-run stand for the second wicket. South Africa now need 172 runs and India nine wickets to win this Test played in highly unusual circumstances and conditions.

Overnight and early-morning rain added drama to an already volatile situation after play was suspended on the third evening owing to concerns around player safety. The ball bounced extravagantly and seamed prodigiously on this surface, but on the third evening the umpires took the teams off so they could consult with the match referee on how to go about the game. It was decided to continue playing in the hope that the pitch would settle down, especially once the ball got older and softer. Wet outfield and a damp top surface of the pitch then delayed the start by an hour; the dampness of the pitch might come in question yet.

Once the play began, though, Elgar and Amla showed the courage to match India’s. Having taken four blows on the third evening, and having cleared a concussion test, Elgar wore one on the glove in the morning, and was often hit high on the bat by length balls. He didn’t flinch or back away, though, which, no matter the result of the Test, should be a fitting reply to those who doubted the genuineness of his reaction to being hit on the third evening.

Amla was more fluent and in control. After Jasprit Bumrah began the day with five wides over Parthiv Patel’s head, Mohammed Shami provided Amla two balls to cut. They were fetched from the boundary, and that was the last we saw of Shami in the session.

Sixteen of Elgar’s 29 runs came behind square, and mostly through nudges for one. He once threw his hands at a wide length ball, and the edge flew over the slips. There was one flashy cut in front of square. Amla’s exaggerated shuffle continued, allowing him to leave alone balls outside off and also use spaces on the on-side.

The problem for the bowlers remained too much seam. When the ball moved, it moved too much to hit the edge, something South Africa encountered too.



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