Dean Elgar (pictured) along with Hashim Amla have both helped the Proteas to lunch with some determined battling. Photo: BackpagePix

Following the drama over the state of the pitch here for the third and final Test the match resumed Saturday morning but there were no major dramas as South Africa and India played out a 90 minute first session.

South Africa batted through the session with no further damage either physically or to the wickets column with Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla, effectively nullifying the new ball and knocking a further 52 runs off the original target of 242.

The home team reached lunch on 69/1, with Elgar on 29* and Amla on 27. South Africa still need another 172 runs for what would be a hugely impressive victory given all the concerns about a pitch which has major cracks run through it and has seen the ball bounce disconcertingly off a full length.

The match was halted 20 minutes before stumps on Friday evening with the umpires; Ian Gould and Aleem Dar, concerned over the inconsistency of the bounce. Elgar had been struck a fearsome blow on the head by Jasprit Bumrah, but that was off a short of a length ball that the left-hand opener had played badly. He got himself into an awful tangle the result perhaps about his doubts about how the pitch was playing.

The start on Saturday was delayed by half an hour owing to a damp outfield following morning showers, while the strip that has caused all the drama was shaved and then had the heavy roller applied.

Bumrah completed the over that he started Friday, getting proceedings underway with another bouncer but one that was out of the reach of the batsman, Elgar, who passed two concussion tests, and wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel, and flew to the boundary for four.

Although Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma beat the outside edge of the bat continuously there were no signs of any misbehaviour off the surface, with both players able to get onto the front foot without concern.

Elgar, probably still mentally ill-at-ease, has fought very hard and looked like he has too, but Amla has looked smooth and in control.

A vibrant afternoon is certainly in the offing at the ‘Bullring’ on Saturday.  

IOL Sport

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