Virat Kohli remains unbeaten on _* © AFP
Virat Kohli remains unbeaten on 27* © AFP

The Wanderers pitch, under operation, at Johannesburg has been compared to the Nagpur surface from India-South Africa 2015 Test series. If the latter was a ‘dust bowl’, this one is producing loads of pace and (awkward) bounce. Either the deliveries are rolling onto the wicketkeeper, or taking his (Quinton de Kock) head off. Such is the uneven bounce. Day Three of the third and final Test resumed with India 49 for 1. They have added only 51 runs before lunch, surviving against ‘scary’ bounce. In addition, commentators have also deemed it a ‘dangerous surface to play.’

Ahead of a delivery, Harsha Bhogle stated, ”Alright then, what story is this ball writing.” Sums up the story, doesn’t it?

India lost KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara early. Rahul perished on another poor shot. He defended a delivery way outside off stump, and edged to Faf du Plessis at slips. Pujara, similar to his Cape Town dismissal, nicked one to a rising short of length delivery, and handed a simple catch. It may have been essential for Virat Kohli to come in place of Pujara, and keep the scoreboard moving along with a steady Murali Vijay. Nonetheless, he carried on in similar fashion.

Kohli played each and every ball according to its merit. He leaned forward and presented the full face of the bat, to add some eye-catching boundaries courtesy cover drives. Vijay took a few blows due to the nature of the surface, but remained content. He, however, fell to Kagiso Rabada off an unplayable yorker before the break.

Note: Umpires and captains were involved in a brief chat, discussing the repercussions of the pitch. Something unlikely on the way?

At present, the game is evenly-poised. India would still fancy their chances as anything over 160-170 would be humongous with plenty of cracks and ‘unfair’ bounce on offer.

The Wanderers’ surface

Hashim Amla: It is probably one of the toughest (wickets). I can think back recently in England we played and there were a couple of tough wickets there as well. But this one has a lot of pace and bounce. It is probably one of the pacy wickets that I have played on.

Sunil Gavaskar: You can get a very flat surface which is totally in favour of batsmen. This is a pitch which is totally in favour of bowlers.

Shaun Pollock: If you’ve got deliveries behaving like this on day two of a Test match it can’t be judged a good surface. You go to India and get a surface like Nagpur where it turned too much. This can’t be judged a good surface because as a batsman you are never in.

Brief scores

India 187 & 100 for 4 (Murali Vijay 25, Parthiv Patel 16, Virat Kohli 27*; Vernon Philander 2 for 21, Kagiso Rabada 1 for 31) lead South Africa 194 (Kagiso Rabada 30, Hashim Amla 61, Vernon Philander 35; Jasprit Bumrah 5 for 54, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3 for 44) by 93 runs.