Wanderers wicket 'could be dangerous'

Jasprit Bumrah (Gallo)
Jasprit Bumrah (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Before the third Test between South Africa and India at the Wanderers, Proteas captain Faf du Plessis acknowledged that he would be requesting a wicket with pace and bounce. 

The Proteas have made no secret of the fact that they wanted wickets that would benefit their fast bowlers in this series, but Du Plessis said on the eve of the Johannesburg Test that the Wanderers strip would be "nothing extreme". 

Two days into the Test, it doesn't seem that way at all. 

There have been 21 wickets in two days with Hashim Amla's 61 the top score of the match so far.  

One delivery in particular from Ishant Sharma that jagged back a mile cannoned into Amla's ribs, while the South African tail-enders were all at sea against the Indian short bowling. 

Jasprit Bumrah, who took 5/54 in the South African innings, and Amla were both asked for their views on the wicket after the day's play. 

Both players were reluctant to criticise it too heavily, but reading between the lines it was clear that they both thought it was on the excessive side.

"Yeah it’s a little different. We haven’t played on such a wicket," Bumrah said.

"But we are not too critical of the pitch because the match is going on ... we can’t stray away from the topic.

"So that is the basic plan - don’t focus on the wicket. We are focusing on what we have to do right now."

When asked if he felt the wicket provided a fair contest between bat and ball, Bumrah acknowledged that it could be dangerous to bat on.

"It’s a little difficult to say that because some balls are up and down so that could be dangerous for the batsman," he said.

Amla, meanwhile, acknowledged that this was one of the toughest wickets he had ever batted on.

"I can think back recently when we played in England and there were a couple of tough wickets there. This one has a lot of pace and bounce and it is quite challenging as a batsman," Amla said.

"There is nothing you can do about it. You try your best when you’re batting and that’s it.

"It’s a spicy wicket … nobody can hide from the fact that you can get out on every ball.

"Whether it’s too excessive or not? Ask the batsmen … what do you think they’ll say?"

Amla was then asked to compare the extremities of this Wanderers wicket to what the Proteas faced in India, particularly in Nagpur, where they were given a dust bowl as India's spinner thrived.

"Both were very difficult to bat on," he said.

"The difference here is if you look at Centurion, in particular, the wicket didn’t suit us one bit. For us to win the game in those kind of sub-continent conditions proved that we are playing good cricket."

India will resume their second innings on 49/1 on Friday, 42 runs ahead of the Proteas.

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