Toxic air disrupts Test match


Two Sri Lankan fast bowlers left the field following breathing difficulties due to “poor air quality”, there were two stoppages of play, and the visitors didn’t have enough fit players to field in the post-lunch session — five of them entered the field wearing anti-pollution masks. Day Two of the third Test between India and Sri Lanka at the Feroz Shah Kotla in the national capital was like no other in the history of Test cricket.
“It (the pollution level) 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. From our point of view, it has to be stated that it is a very, very unique case,” said Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas.
Three overs and four balls into the session, the stocky pacemen Lahiru Gamage stuttered in his followthrough after his third ball of the 123rd over in India’s innings, and hunkered down in the middle of the pitch, gesturing to his alarmed colleagues that he was struggling to breathe.
The Sri Lankan medical staff dashed to his side, and skipper Dinesh Chandimal ran to Nigel Llong, the umpire at the bowler’s end, and animatedly told him that his men were finding it increasingly difficult to breathe. But Llong and fellow umpire Joel Wilson tried to calm him. After a 17-minute negotiation, Chandimal reluctantly signalled at Gamage, still kneeling on the ground, to resume his over.