Proteas batsman Dean Elgar receives medical attention after being hit by the ball in the head on day three of the third and final test against India at the Wanderers. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

South African opener Dean Elgar believes the third Test with India should have been called off after he was hit on the head by Jasprit Bumrah.

Elgar underwent two concussion tests, one on Friday night and another on Saturday morning, before resuming his innings, ultimately finishing unbeaten on 86, an astonishing effort given the blows he copped throughout his innings.

But Elgar said he wasn’t happy that the match had resumed explaining it would have been better had it been called off lest there be another tragic incident like the one that led to the death of Australian left-hander Phil Hughes in 2014. 

Hughes was struck by a bouncer, during a domestic match and subsequently died.

“Last night (Friday) it was unfortunate that we had to go off, it was unfortunate that someone had to get hit in the face in order for actions to be taken,” said Elgar on Saturday after India had claimed a consolation 63-run victory in the third Test. South Africa won the series 2-1. 

“Those actions are out of the players hands and we had absolutely no say on that matter.”

Elgar was struck on the head by a bouncer although he felt that on a normal Wanderers pitch the ball would have flown over his head. 

Umpires Ian Gould and Aleem Dar, after consulting with match referee Andy Pycroft, decided to end play 20 minutes before the scheduled close on Friday.

That led to plenty of discussions involving both captains, the coaches, the respective team managers and the groundsman, Bethuel Buthelezi, before it was decided late on Friday night that match would eventually continue.

For the most part the trouble with the surface seemed to tend from balls that pitched just back of a good length that reared up and struck several batsmen on the arm and hand. 

A number of players had to be treated.

“Bearing in mind I’d been peppered three or four times before that...I know (the umpires) had a feeling that the wicket wasn’t the greatest. It was a freak. 

“Wanderers has steep bounce, but I’d never experienced that and that made a doubt in the umpire’s mind. Thankfully the umpires had some sanity about the moment.”

“On day three, the wicket didn’t play great. Batters got hit a helluva lot of times in this game more than is usual in Test matches,” said Elgar.

“If there was a period to call it off, then it was sooner rather than later.

“Unfortunately it took an incident of being hit in the head, where we could have had an incident, where what happened in Australia  we could have had that...I think there is a bit of red tape that needs to be addressed.”

"I understand people want to watch Test cricket, they want to watch for the whole day, but we are also human beings, not machines, we are not just going to take blows and accept putting our bodies on the line. 

“It was unfortunate it had to go to that depth, but the situation of the pitch, I think could have been addressed sooner.”

As per normal, Pycroft will submit a report about the pitch to the International Cricket Council and depending on the rating he gives the surface the Wanderers could be censured and is in danger of losing its status as a venue that can host international matches.

IOL Sport

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