The grassy nature of the pitch used for the final Test between India and South Africa changed to a 'misbehaving' one on the third day's play as cricket experts called it dangerous to play on, urging the International Cricket Council (ICC) to take strong notice.
Divets seem to be coming out of the track on occasion as both Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli got hit dangerously in the first session of play on Friday and it irritated the India captain who brought the issue to the attention of on-field umpires Ian Gould and Aleem Dar.
The issue escalated when fast-bowling legend Michael Holding gave the track 2/100 while doing commentary.
It was followed by a series of tweets by former players and experts.
"The ICC must look into it," tweeted Harbhajan Singh, while former Australia batsman Dean Jones called the pitch a "pile of crap".
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) January 26, 2018
— Dean Jones (@ProfDeano) January 26, 2018
Very naughty pitch but so far India have found a way to survive. Umpires have begun looking at it closely
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 26, 2018
Interestingly, former India captain Sourav Ganguly had raised questions on the nature of the Wanderers track during the first day's play itself. "To play test cricket on this surface is unfair ...saw it in NZ in 2003 ...batsman have minimum chance ..icc should look into it," he responded to a tweet on his timeline.
— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) January 24, 2018
This pitch looks diabolical now.
— Sambit Bal (@sambitbal) January 26, 2018
Former India opener Aakash Chopra, meanwhile, said that "if Pune and Nagpur were doctored, this one is too."
The Nagpur pitch used for the third Test during South Africa's tour of India in 2015 was given a "poor" rating by the match referee Jeff Crowe in his report to the ICC.
Scratch the ‘pitch not as spicy anymore’ bit please.
It’s a minefield of a different kind. If Pune and Nagpur were doctored, this one is too. Without doubt. #SAvIND
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) January 26, 2018
India began the day at 49/1 and were reduced to 57/3 as Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel removed KL Rahul (16) and Cheteshwar Pujara (1) respectively. Vijay (25) was then bowled in the last over before lunch by Rabada.
But what raised eyebrows was that on one occasion, a ball scooted through the track staying as low as one-third of the stump height, while another couple of times it rose awkwardly to hit Vijay and Kohli.
Vijay was hit in the midriff and Kohli got struck smack on the hand on a good length ball.
India, who have already lost the three-match series 2-0, were 100/4 at lunch and leading the hosts by 93 runs.