The third and final Test match between India and Sri Lanka at Feroz Shah Kotla was full of action. While Indian skipper Virat Kohli scored his record-breaking sixth double century. Followed by some annoying drama and uncalled pauses by Sri Lankans. It was, probably, the first time an international match was disrupted for the reason of bad pollution.
The Sri Lankan players were seen wearing masks to protect themselves from the bad weather condition in New Delhi. It all started after the lunch where the visitors expressed their concern about the quality of air in the city and they can’t continue to play with such bad environment.
The drama didn’t just seem to stop and there were perplexed scenes at the Kotla time and again. First Gamage and then Lakmal both walked off leaving their overs in between. The game was stopped again and again for this apparent ploy from Sri Lanka. Whether it was a tactic or a genuine issue they faced is something only they would know.
They were one man shot and had no substitute fielders left to fill in the spot as those sitting out were already struggling. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan physio and fielding coach was seen at the boundary line wearing the white dress, perhaps coming in to field for his team. Finally, Sri Lanka team coach Nic Pothas stepped into the ground to ask the umpires stop the play.
Even India coach Ravi Shastri had walked on to the ground being animated while talking to the umpires. As one after the other Sri Lankans halted play, Indian Skipper, Virat Kohli got really infuriated and declared the innings at 536/7.
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Later, the Sri Lanka cricket team coach Nic Pothas said the team management was concerned about the players’ health and had oxygen cylinders in the dressing room as the likes of Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Gamage, and Dhananjaya de Silva was vomiting.
“Obviously it is well documented that Delhi has the high level of pollution. They had got extremely high at one point, we had players coming in at one point and vomiting. There were oxygen cylinders in the dressing room. It is not normal for players to suffer in that way while playing the game,” Pothas said.
“From our point of view, it has to be stated that it is a unique case. We had to play cricket. Under all circumstance, we wanted to play cricket. We just wanted to have some clarity on the safety of players. The captain wanted to speak to me about the fact that we had only ten people at one stage as there were not enough people to get on the field,” Pothas added.
“The umpires were very clear where they were coming from. I don’t envy them. Their position was tough as well. There aren’t too many rules written on pollution.” When asked what Sri Lanka’s position would be if the situation is similar on Monday, Pothas said it’s all up to the match officials and the referee. “I haven’t spoken to anyone as to what we are going to do. That’s in the hands of match referee and umpires and I am sure they will put in place some sort of precedence if that happens on Monday again,” he added.
However, the Islanders were booed by Indian fans as their opening batsmen walked to the crease after Kohli’s declaration. Many Indian fans echoed similar frustrations online, accusing the touring side of being melodramatic.
“If 20,000 people in the stands did not have a problem and the Indian team did not face any issue, I wonder why Sri Lankan team made a big fuss?” questioned CK Khanna, acting BCCI president. What do you say about this incident and Sri Lankans act? Share your views with us in the comments section below.