Dean Elgar fell on the floor to an Umesh Yadav thunderbolt. Speed gun showed 145kph. More importantly, it was a well-directed bouncer that reared off a length. The ball thudded on the helmet right above the ear. The South African team physio Brandon Jackson came rushing in. The South African opener sat on the pitch and looked dazed. After initial assessment, Elgar was ruled out of any further participation in the ongoing third Test. Theunis de Bruyn became his concussion sub.

The incident happened at the stroke of tea on the third day here at the JSCA Stadium. South Africa were following on after being bowled out for 162 in their first innings against India’s 497/9 declared. Yadav was into his fifth over and Elgar had been batting on 16, with the Saffers’ second innings total 26/4. He was hit on the third ball of the over and the umpires called an early tea. “Dean Elgar is still being assessed and we are following the standard ICC protocol,” the Cricket South Africa media manager Sipokazi Sokanyile said after the day’s play.

It was third such incident in Tests in three months – Steve Smith at Lord’s in August, Darren Bravo at Kingston in September and now Elgar at Ranchi. Marnus Labuschagne was Smith’s concussion substitute after the latter was hit on the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer. Jermaine Blackwood came in for Bravo, when the left-hander took a blow off a Jasprit Bumrah bouncer and retired hurt.

Inadequate technique

Although, the JSCA Stadium pitch had variable bounce, Elgar’s injury was basically down to his inadequate technique against the short ball. His took his eyes off the delivery and sort of ducked into the bouncer. Last year in Johannesburg also, he was hit on the grille by a Bumrah bouncer and needed a concussion test. Back then, he was given the go-ahead to carry on. Also, it was prior to the concussion sub – a like-for-like replacement – days. The ICC approved the new rule at its Full Council in London in July this year, as part of the playing conditions for all international and first-class matches. The rule came into effect from August 1, when the World Test Championship started at Edgbaston, with the Ashes.

“Following a two-year trial in domestic cricket, the ICC approved concussion player replacements in all formats of men’s and women’s international cricket and for first class cricket worldwide,” the world cricket’s governing body had stated in a release following its annual conference.