Cracks in the Wanderers surface widened to cause inconsistent, exaggerated bounce and excessive seam movement.
Play was halted after the Proteas’ Dean Elgar was hit on the helmet grille by a bouncer from India’s Jasprit Bumrah – the fourth blow he had suffered.
It was later confirmed that the match would resume as scheduled on Saturday.
Earlier, players from both sides had been hit by sharply rising deliveries, with India opener Murali Vijay struck five times in the first session alone.
Captains Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli were then called into a meeting with the umpires – Pakistan’s Aleem Dar and England’s Ian Gould – and match referee Andy Pycroft in accordance with International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations.
The ICC later tweeted: “The on-field umpires will continue to monitor the pitch, and consult the match referee should the pitch deteriorate further.
“The welfare of the players is paramount and two of the most experienced match officials are in charge of the game and will take appropriate decisions.”
Only three batsmen have so far reached 50 in the match, with South Africa needing a further 224 runs for victory with nine wickets remaining.
The Proteas are already assured of winning the series, leading 2-0 going into this final Test. (Courtesy BBC)