Third Test: Sri Lanka, India differ on pollution issue on Day 2

Image result for Third Test: Sri Lanka, India differ on pollution issue on Day 2


New Delhi, Dec 3: Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas said that the playing conditions in the post-lunch session on the second day of the Third Test were abnormal, marred as it was by interruptions over complaints of air pollution.

But Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun differed and said the visitors were making too much of the issue instead of focusing on the game.

The second session of the play on Sunday saw three interruptions over complaints of air pollution, prompting the Lankans to wear anti-pollution masks at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground. 

Sri Lanka complained of poor air quality and hazy conditions after their players Lahiru Gamage and Suranga Lakmal seemed to be struggling with their breathing.

The players had to go off and the umpires discussed the issue with the players. The match was halted for around 20 minutes before the floodlights came into action for the rest of the day. 

Both Gamage and Lakmal went off the field on separate occasions. The third interruption took place after Sri Lanka were found to be fielding with 10 players.

After this, the Indian crowd felt that the visitors were intent on wasting time and breaking the rhythm and focus of the hosts. The visiting batsmen were greeted with chants of "losers", "losers".

At the end of the second day's play, Sri Lanka reached 131/3. Angelo Mathews (57 not out) and Dinesh Chandimal (25 not out) were at the crease for Sri Lanka. Dilruwan Perera contributed 42 runs.

"The high level of air pollution in Delhi was well-documented but what happened was a unique and abnormal case. It was not normal the way our players suffered. A few of the players were vomiting and the oxygen (intake device) thing was in the changing room," Pothas said at the post-day press conference.

Pothas pointed that out that apart from pacers Lakmal and Gamage, Dhananjaya de Silva too struggled with his breathing and vomited.

"Our intention was not to halt the play. We wanted to seek clarity of the situation (from the officials). Fast-bowling is an intense activity and safety of our bowlers and our players is paramount," Pothas added.

India bowling coach Arun reacted by saying: "Kohli (who scored 243 runs) batted for almost two days and he didn't need a mask. The conditions are same for both the teams."

"We are focused on what we need to do. All these things (complains of pollution) are their problem."

During one of the interruptions, India chief coach Ravi Shastri too went on to have a discussion with the field umpires.

"Ravi's message was to get on with the game and let the officials do their job. It is not up to the players to go and protest. When the game was unnecessarily stopped, we were focused on the game to continue," Arun revealed. 

"They (Sri Lanka) were stressing on the issue of pollution and their focus was totally different."

However, Arun denied that the interruptions forced Kohli to a premature declaration.

"We were thinking a total over 550. So then we were close to the total what we had in our mind. So we declared," Arun said.

Looking ahead to Monday's play, Pothas said: "I don't presume or assume anything. We don't know what will happen tomorrow. It is up to the match officials. These decisions are not easy for them as well."