- Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis is
not expecting the Wanderers to lose any international cricket following the
third Test against India.
South Africa lost the match by 63
runs, but it was the Wanderers pitch that hogged headlines.
With its inconsistent bounce and
wild movement, the strip was a concern from day one, but that concern reached
new heights when Dean Elgar was smashed in the face by a Jasprit Bumrah bouncer
late on day three.
That was the final straw for umpires
Aleem Dar and Ian Gould, who decided that conditions had become too dangerous
for the batsmen, and when play was suspended with 20 minutes to go in the day
the future of the Test was uncertain.
Eventually, it was decided that
play would continue on Saturday morning, but with the International Cricket
Council (ICC) set to evaluate the pitch, the Wanderers faces the possibility of
It would have been just the
second time in the history of Test cricket that a match was abandoned due to a
pitch being dangerous.
The issue now becomes what
happens post-match when the ICC looks at a report compiled by match referee
With the ICC having employed a
new demerit points system at the beginning of the year, the Wanderers is in hot
Five demerit points means that
the venue will not be able to host international cricket for 12 months.
If the pitch is deemed to have
been 'poor' by the ICC, the Wanderers will be given three demerit points.
But, if it is decided that the
pitch was 'unfit' for Test cricket, it will be given five demerit points and
the year-long been will be imposed immediately.
The latter situation may be
avoided by the fact that the Test match was in fact completed, but with play
having been stopped late on Friday because of the conditions it can be argued
that, at some point at least, the wicket was dangerous and unfit for Test
A ban would be catastrophic for
the Wanderers and CSA.
The 'Pink Day', an ODI against
India on February 10, is sold out already. The venue will also host a T20I
against India on February 18 and the fourth Test against Australia on March
Du Plessis, though, is hoping for
"Look I think because we finished the game, I don’t think that will
happen," he said of a possible ban.
"I understand the demerit points if the game was called off, or if
it was an absolute stinker that lasted two days, then your demerit points would
get a bit more.
"So I assume that even if this pitch was rated poorly, you’d still
be able to come back here for Test cricket."
The wicket also received criticism from a number of critics and former
professionals, with West Indian great Michael Holding leading the chorus of
disapproval by calling for the match to be abandoned.