Cricket 27.1.2018 03:30 pm

Pitch behaves as Proteas and India arm wrestle

South Africa's batsman Dean Elgar plays a shot during the fourth day of the third cricket test match between South Africa and India at Wanderers cricket ground on January 27, 2018 in Johannesburg. / AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

South Africa's batsman Dean Elgar plays a shot during the fourth day of the third cricket test match between South Africa and India at Wanderers cricket ground on January 27, 2018 in Johannesburg. / AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

Hashim Amla and a grim Dean Elgar grind well against India but late wickets before tea evens things again.

The drama surrounding the Wanderers pitch was relegated to being a bit of a footnote on the first session of Saturday’s fourth day of the third Test between the Proteas and India.

Given that the umpires have been instructed to remain on high alert for any instance of of the surface behaving erratic again, the atmosphere was tense after play started an hour late due to damp conditions.

After all, another Dean Elgar incident could mean this match gets abandoned.

And that could mean a 12-month international ban for the Wanderers.

Pleasingly, proceedings were merely tough as the Proteas reached 136/3 at tea.

That’s still 105 runs away from a win.

Hashim Amla continued to tame the surface expertly as he played some sublime strokes on the leg-side to reach a fine 52 but he would’ve been frustrated by his dismissal, when he clipped straight to Hardik Pandya at short midwicket.

That ended a gritty 119-run stand with Elgar.

India were given real hope again moments later when a cracking delivery had AB de Villiers (6) caught at slip.

Yet the battling Elgar is still there.

The Indian seamers created various half-chances off him and the left-hander generally looked uncomfortable.

But his greatest strength is his determination and he’ll view his survival – 61 off 181 – as a major victory already.

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