Dean Elgar got struck multiple times during his stay   (Image courtesy: AFP)
Dean Elgar got struck multiple times during his stay (Image courtesy: AFP)

South African batsman Dean Elgar said on Saturday the Wanderers pitch used for the third and final Test against India  was a “freak” that posed physical danger to batsmen. After battling for close on six hours to make 86 not out in South Africa’s 63-run defeat, the opening batsman said the umpires would have been justified in calling off the match when several balls behaved unpredictably on Friday.

Elgar was hit on the grille of his helmet late on Friday, prompting the umpires, in consultation with match referee Andy Pycroft, to halt play shortly before the scheduled close. After meeting with both captains, the match officials decided play would resume on Saturday.

South Africa, 17 for one overnight, were bowled out for 177 but Elgar remained unbeaten, the first South African to carry his bat twice through a completed Test innings. Referring to the incident that led to the death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes in 2014, Elgar said: “We had an incident of being hit in the head, where we could have had an incident of what happened in Australia. People want to watch Test cricket but we are also human beings — the situation could have been addressed earlier.”

Elgar said the ball which reared up into his face was “a freak moment” and said he did not believe he could have played it any better. He pointed out that it was on a day when “batsmen got hit a hell of a lot of times.”

During the course of Friday’s play, former international players Michael Holding and Kepler Wessels raised the possibility of the match being abandoned but they agreed that if it was to happen it should have been before India completed their second innings.

Despite no repairs being done to the pitch, it appeared to have flattened out to some extent on Saturday, although it remained difficult for batsmen.