Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding has slammed the Wanderers wicket for the third Test.
Inconsistent bounce saw Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli taking several blows to the body before lunch on day three of the match.
While Vijay was receiving treatment in the 35th over, after being hit on the hand by a vicious delivery from Kagiso Rabada, Kohli inspected the pitch more closely and pointed out the cracks to umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould.
However, the umpires opted to continue with the match, much to Holding’s disgust.
‘Two out of 100 [is my rating for the pitch],’ he said when asked by ESPNcricinfo. ‘It’s a s**t pitch. You can interpret that.
‘They should have called it off when 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 1998, and it didn’t even last this long.’
Former Proteas batsman Kepler Wessels, who is also commentating on the match for SuperSport, agreed with Holding.
‘The unfortunate thing is that nobody minds movement off the surface, but it’s the uneven bounce that’s the problem and it is quite dangerous from a batting point of view when you have pace attacks bowling around the 140km/h mark, tall bowlers hitting the deck hard.
‘It is dangerous and it’s not ideal. I have seen pitches like this around the world but, as we keep saying, you want a good contest between bat and ball and this one is not providing that. I’d give it a three out of 10.’
ICC’s pitch regulations:
- 6.2 Fitness of pitch for play: The umpires shall be the sole judges of the fitness of the pitch for play.
- 6.4 Changing the pitch: The pitch shall not be changed during the match unless the umpires decide that it is dangerous or unreasonable for play to continue on it and then only with the consent of both captains.
- 6.4.1 If the on-field umpires decide that it is dangerous or unreasonable for play to continue on the match pitch, they shall stop play and immediately advise the ICC Match Referee.
- 6.4.2 The on-field umpires and the ICC Match Referee shall then consult with both captains.
- 6.4.3 If the captains agree to continue, play shall resume.
- 6.4.4 If the decision is not to resume play, the on-field umpires together with the ICC Match Referee shall consider whether the existing pitch can be repaired and the match resumed from the point it was stopped. In considering whether to authorise such repairs, the ICC Match Referee must consider whether this would place either side at an unfair advantage, given the play that had already taken place on the dangerous pitch.
- 6.4.5 If the decision is that the existing pitch cannot be repaired, then the match is to be abandoned as a draw.