Match should have been called off when Vijay got hit, says Michael Holding

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Match should have been called off when Vijay got hit, says Michael Holding

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SportsCafe Desk

01/27/2018

Michael Holding has lashed out at the ‘dangerous’ Wanderers pitch stating that the game should have been called off when Murali Vijay first got hit in the morning session. Sunil Gavaskar has also acknowledged the uncertainty of the pitch but believes that the match shouldn’t be abandoned now.

After the third day of the final Test match between South Africa and India was abruptly called off as the Wanderer’s pitch showed uneven bounce, former players have come down heavily on the officials and the management for their lack of precautions. Former West Indies fast bowling legend Michael Holding was furious at the condition on the track and asked the game to be called off immediately.

“This pitch, I think, is dangerous. I would hate to be a batsman on this pitch given what I am seeing happening out there at the moment on the third day of a Test match. Look, I am happy with lateral movement, like we saw in the first Test (at Cape Town)… But when balls start exploding off a length and people start getting hit left, right and centre, I don't think that's a good pitch," Holding told PTI.

Three Indian and one South African batsmen were hit during the game as the ball was seen rising from the good length area. While Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli got hit on their hands during the morning session, in the 31st and 35th overs respectively, Ajinkya Rahane also suffered a hit post-lunch in the 58th over- all the instances happening off Kagiso Rabada’s deliveries. 

It was South Africa’s turn next who were chasing 241 runs. Dean Elgar was struck on his hand and then the helmet from Buvneshwar Kumar’s delivery in the third over of their second innings. 

"They should have called it off when (Murali) Vijay got hit. This is not a cricket pitch, this is dangerous. Call it off, forget it. You can't play cricket on that. I have no idea what has gone wrong but I know it's not a good cricket pitch. The last time I saw something like this, the match was abandoned in Jamaica in 1998, and it didn't even last this long," said Holding.

The issue was discussed earlier in the day when the on-field umpires, Aleem Dar and Ian Gould, were seen having a long chat in the middle as they inspected the pitch, before they decided to resume the play. 

The third Test finally saw some steely resolve by the Indian batsmen, who have otherwise been quite feeble in their approach on the tour so far.  With the likes of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Bhuvneshwar Kumar all chipping in crucial runs to take the target to over 240, the game should be in India’s court over the next two days, and Sunil Gavaskar’s opinion that the match shouldn’t be abandoned is quite understandable.

“The Indian batsmen should be commended for scoring 240- odd because it is a difficult pitch no doubt. No batsman can feel certain on a wicket like this and the unpredictable bounce makes it dangerous as well. But I don't think the match should be abandoned,” Gavaskar told PTI.

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