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NEW DELHI: India batsman Ajinkya Rahane on Friday dismissed concerns raised over the Wanderers pitch that has come under heavy criticism for offering uneven bounce. Late in the third day’s play, South Africa opener Dean Elgar was hit on the helmet by a rising delivery following which the umpires took the players off the field. The day’s play was eventually called off.
Addressing a press conference after the day’s play, Rahane gave the example of how his team’s batsmen negotiated the South African bowlers. “Wicket was challenging. It was similar for both the teams,” Rahane said. “[Murali] Vijay scored 25 runs. Our openers played well. When me and Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] were batting, we were not thinking about the wicket but focusing on the delivery.”
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He further added that India tailenders also had to deal with short deliveries and they batted without raising any objections over the pitch. “What about them bowling short balls to our bowlers. When Ishant [Sharma], Bhuvi, [Mohammed] Shami and [Jasprit] Bumrah were batting, everyone was bowling bouncers. I don’t think it is a dangerous wicket, yes, it is a challenging wicket,” he observed.
The India vice-captain added that they want to play on the surface despite the concerns raised by the match officials and the South African team but the decision whether play continues doesn’t rest with them. “We didn’t ask them to prepare this wicket. They prepared it. We want to play on this. Rest decision is with umpires and match referee,” he said.
The Indian team manager Sunil Subramaniam said that the match referee Andy Pycroft had asked them if deemed the pitch dangerous but they felt it behaved the same on all three days.
South Africa were 17/1 after India set them 241 runs to win when the play was called off.