Indian batsmen were not afraid to take blows on their bodies on a difficult Wanderers pitch, offering dangerous bounce, even as match officials called off third day's play when South Africa batted in similar conditions later on Friday. South Africa opener Deal Elgar was hit on the grill of his helmet by a Jasprit Bumrah delivery in the ninth over of the hosts second innings, prompting umpires to halt play.
The physio rushed to the pitch and Elgar was seen placing an ice-pack on his forehead. Umpires Ian Gould and Aleem Dar began discussion and soon match referee Andy Pycroft joined them on the ground. They initiated deliberations with both the captains, players were called off the ground and play never resumed after that. Former players Sunil Gavaskar and Jonty Rhodes, watching the proceedings from the commentary box felt that the pitch had nothing to do with the Shami delivery that hit Elgar.
The fate of the match is still unknown but courageous batting by the Indians has put them in a strong position. Chasing a stiff 241, the hosts ended the day three 17 for one in 8.3 overs. They lost opener Aiden Markram 4, caught behind off Shami.
Kohli looked class apart and went past MS Dhoni (3454 runs in 60 Tests) in the list of most runs as Test skipper. He was bowled off an unplayable delivery that seamed in off the pitch from Kagiso Rabada (3/69) in the 50th over. Rahane, meanwhile, played some attacking shots, primarily off Morne Morkel as Indias lead crossed 150. Kumar looked solid at the other end and the two looked to rotate strike as often as they could.
Ajinkya Rahane, whose exclusion from the first two Tests led to severe criticism of team's selection policy, showed what Indian team missed out earlier in the series with his dogged 48-run knock. The diminutive batsman was not perturbed after being consistently hit on his arms and dismissal of skipper Virat Kohli (41) as he raised a match-defining 55-run stand with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (33). Rahane and Bhuneshwar's seventh wicket partnership coupled with some lusty blows from Mohammed Shami (27) in a splendid rearguard action meant that India managed to put on board 247, setting the visitors a stiff 241-run target.