South Africa coach Mickey Arthur said he was “hugely frustrated” after a power failure and bad light halted his team’s surge on the third day of the second Test against India at Kingsmead Thursday.
South Africa were 64 for no wicket in their second innings, an overall lead of 152, when bad light ended play for the day.
“We obviously wanted to push the game forward tonight,” said Arthur.
“We were frustrated too by the amount of stoppages throughout the day, with ball changes and doctors running on the field. There needs to be some proper control of that or it could spill over into something very frustrating for us.”
Arthur claimed one of three ball changes during the day took 20 minutes.
Another lengthy stoppage was when umpire Mark Benson had to leave the field after suffering heart palpitations.
Only 58.4 overs were bowled in the day.
South African umpire Ian Howell, who replaced Benson, defended the decision taken by Pakistan’s Asad Rauf and himself to stop play, even though the batsmen wanted to continue.
Only eight balls were bowled and four runs added after a 45-minute stoppage caused when four of the five floodlights, augmenting poor natural light, went out of operation.
Howell said the light had been offered to the batsmen shortly before the power failure.
They wanted to stay on and repeated their decision after the floodlights failed.
But soon after a bouncer by VRV Singh nearly dismissed AB de Villiers, South African captain Graeme Smith opted to go off.
When play resumed after the floodlights came on again, “the light had deteriorated further,” according to Howell.
After eight balls, the umpires decided the light was unfit for cricket and they called off play.
Howell said umpire Rauf was having difficulty seeing the ball when he was standing at square leg.
They took the players off the field to the obvious dismay of Smith and De Villiers, who briefly stayed at the wicket while the Indians headed to the dressing rooms.
South Africa need to win to square the three-match series and with more cloudy weather predicted for the remaining two days, the loss of 36.3 overs Thursday was a blow to their chances of forcing a victory.
Arthur said South Africa were on target to achieve the goals they had set for the day before the stoppages.
“We wanted to be 200 ahead by the close,” he said.
Arthur added his bowlers had been clinical when they bowled out India for 240 on a heavily overcast day.
“We executed our plans properly,” said Arthur.
“We had the same plans for (the first Test at) the Wanderers but we failed to execute.”
South Africa gained a first innings lead of 88 despite a patient unbeaten half-century by VVS Laxman, who finished with 50 not out after batting for 282 minutes. He faced 156 balls and hit three fours.
Despite the deficit, India seamer Zaheer Khan believes India can still turn the match around.
“We have to try and get them out as early as possible,” he said.
“The overcast conditions were pretty helpful for swing bowling, and hopefully, it will stay this way on Friday.
“It’s too early to say how this Test is headed, there is a lot of cricket left and we need to stay positive and play good hard cricket. Picking up early wickets is the key.”
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:India, India in South Africa 2006, South Africa
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