South Africa coach Ottis Gibson defended his side and said that the hosts didn’t demand grass on the pitch. The third day’s play of the final Test match invited controversy after Proteas opener Dean Elgar received a blow on his helmet grill from a rising delivery by pacer Jasprit Bumrah. The hosts were on 17/1, chasing 241 to seal the fate of the third Test.

The incident led to a premature end to the day’s play and the nature of the pitch was questioned from different quarters. While the Indian team manager passed the ball on South Africa’s court, Gibson cleared the air saying that it is up to the match referee to take a call on this game.

Gibson backs Faf du Plessis

“Never asked for grass (on the pitch), we asked for pace and bounce. I don’t think we expected it to behave in the way it did. The wicket in Cape Town went for three days but we thought it was a good wicket. That’s what we had asked for here.” Gibson told the reporters at the post-match conference.

The Proteas coach shadowed skipper Faf du Plessis and said that the home team’s skipper too was critical of the nature of the wicket.

“Our captain also said this is not fair when balls were taking off a length. We said a decision would have to be made but that’s not our decision to make. If a ball is going to hit you on your finger, we can probably get away. But if it’s on the face, it’s a problem” Gibson said.

We want to play: Gibson

Gibson said that they are willing to chase the remaining runs and grind it out in the middle if they receive a green signal from the officials.

“Ultimately we still want to play cricket. But Match referee decision will be based on player safety. I hope you are not sitting here thinking we are complaining.” he said.

Sayantan Bhattacharjee

A student of the game. Averaged 35-plus in gully cricket.