South Africa were 17-1 in pursuit of 241 when play was suspended due to the dangerous pitch conditions at the Wanderers.
The volatile pitch at the Wanderers has come in for some heavy criticism over the past few days. India were forced to deal with deliveries exploding off a good length during the initial stages of day three. Later on, Dean Elgar was struck on the head by a Jasprit Bumrah-fireball.
The umpires convened with the captains midway through the first session, and again after lunch following a couple of extraordinary incidents. Match referee Andy Pycroft made his way onto the field after Elgar was hit at the end of the day. The officials decided to take the players off the field due to the dangerous conditions.
Skippers Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli then met with the officials to discuss the state of the pitch. Stumps was called, and the decision on whether the game will continue or not will be announced later on Friday evening.
India may feel hard done by if the Test is abandoned. Their batsmen performed well in spite of the challenging conditions. Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, and subsequently Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, made key contributions to transform a relatively good total into a formidable one.
The Proteas bowlers failed to hit the right areas with any telling consistency. They put down a couple of straight-forward catches.
The hosts lacked intensity during the latter stages of the day. India capitalised, adding 44 runs for their last three wickets – a significant amount given the conditions.
The momentum was with India heading into the final innings of the contest. Shami – who hit 27 off 28 deliveries earlier – made an immediate impact with the ball. Aiden Markram flashed at a ball outside off-stump and was caught by wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.
Neither Elgar nor Hashim Amla looked comfortable on this pitch. Elgar was struck on the body several times, while Amla wore a couple of deliveries on the gloves.
Then Bumrah pitched the ball a touch shorter, and hit Elgar on the helmet. The game came to a halt after that.
India 187 (1st innings) – Virat Kohli 54, Cheteshwar Pujara 50, Kagiso Rabada 3-39, Andile Phehlukwayo 2-25
SA 194 (1st innings) – Hashim Amla 61, Vernon Philander 35, Jasprit Bumrah 5-54, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-44
India 247 (2nd innings) – Ajinkya Rahane 48, Virat Kohli 41, Kagiso Rabada 3-69, Morne Morkel 2-47
SA 17-1 (2nd innings) – Dean Elgar 11 not out, Mohammed Shami 1-7
South Africa need 224 runs to win