1st in 140-yrs: Pollution interrupts a Test match
New Delhi: In a dramatic turn of events, the embattled Sri Lankan cricket team on Sunday held up proceedings in the third Test against India, complaining of poor air quality and forced the hosts to declare its innings.
In a first-ever incident in the 140-year-history of Test cricket, an international team wore anti-pollution masks while fielding and then refused to continue, stopping play for 26 minutes on three occasions.
Sri Lanka's refusal forced an animated India skipper Virat Kohli to declare at 536 for seven after some of the visiting team's substitute fielders refused to take the field.
Once an angry-looking Kohli signalled declaration to the on-field batsmen Wriddhiman Saha and Ravindra Jadeja, the Lankan players were booed by a 20,000 strong crowd, chanting losers as the players from the island nation retreated to the dressing room.
Interestingly, when Indian team under Kohli took the field, none of the players wore anti-pollution masks.
According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi's air quality has been rated as very poor.
There is a question mark on whether the match will continue on the third day as both the boards will have to sit across the table to sort out the issue. The ICC may not get into the issues about bilateral series is the prerogative of both boards.
BCCI acting president CK Khanna said, "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.
I will need to talk to the secretary and ask him to write to the Sri Lanka Cricket."
Sri Lankan players halted the proceedings thrice between 12:32 to 12:49 for 17 minutes after which they were convinced to start proceedings.