Proteas manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee insists the ball that hit Dean Elgar on the grill of his helmet, and ended play on day three, was not a short delivery.
The umpires and match referee took the players off the field after the incident, citing a dangerous pitch. The Proteas were 17-1 at the time, needing another 224 to win.
A decision on whether the Test will proceed could be made on Friday night.
Moosajee’s comments were surprising, as SuperSport’s pitch map showed the delivery that hit Elgar pitched 8.45m from the base of the stumps.
When journalists said the delivery had been short, Moosajee responded: ‘I’m not sure you are watching the game. The ball that hit Elgar spat from a good length.
‘Nobody has made a direct statement to the direct condition of the pitch. The minute it goes to the head, that’s why the umpires decided to consult with the referee.’
— SA Cricket magazine (@SACricketmag) January 26, 2018
‘During tea the managers were called into the match-referee room where a discussion was held on the conditions of the pitch,’ Moosajee added.
‘At that time, it was decided that if the umpires decided [the pitch] was unfair, they would consult with match ref and captains. From our point of view, this decision lies squarely with the match officials.’
India team manager Sunil Subramanyam disagreed with Moosajee about the delivery that hit Elgar.
‘We are of the view that it was a normal ball,’ he said. ‘It was not a ball that cut alarmingly. It would be unfair to one of the sides if repair work is done on the pitch tomorrow.
‘The match referee called me at teatime in case the wicket got dangerous, in which case both the captains would be consulted.
‘We had the view that the wicket has been the same for all three days. Today we had the highest strike rates and the least wickets. We would like to continue playing.’
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images