If Virat Kohli had hoped the “smog” surrounding the on-going Test between India and Sri Lanka will clear out by the time Sri Lanka return to bowling for the second innings, it was not the case. After getting all out for 373, the visitors returned to bowling at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium on Day 4, after facing just five overs with the bat. But the Lankan Tigers did not come alone. They brought the face masks with them.
Several Sri Lanka players including skipper Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews wore anti-pollution face masks on the field in the second innings as well. If that was not all, seamer Suranga Lakmal, whose health concerns caused frequent interruptions on Sunday, started to vomit on the field. Chandimal and other bowlers came to help Lakmal with his struggles followed by medical staff who also reached to take a look at the bowler.
The ongoing Test saw an interruption on Sunday as Sri Lankan fielders complained about the pollution levels. Both Lankan seamers Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage went off the field after struggling to bowl, and an irritated skipper Virat Kohli declared the Indian innings. The dramatic turn of events had prompted National Green Tribunal (NGT) to slam Delhi government for failing to control air pollution and for hosting the Test despite the severe conditions.
“Every newspaper has been carrying headline that the air pollution was going to be higher this week. Still you took no action. Even the players were playing match wearing masks. You should have not held the match if the air quality was so bad. Are people of Delhi supposed to bear this?” the bench said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference on Monday, BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary also spoke about the poor air quality in the city and said that the cricketing body will be more careful in future about organising an international match in the city.
“Pollution has been spoken about for years, but not just in one walk of life. These are sensitive matters, and there are agencies and structures that deal with this. Scheduling of matches in Delhi during this time of the year will be considered. We do check the weather before hosting matches in places like Delhi, the NCR, and western UP,” the BCCI official had said.