New Delhi, Dec 3 : The Sri Lankan cricket team todayhalted proceedings in the third Test against India complainingof poor air quality, the first such grievance by aninternational team visiting the pollution-mired nationalcapital.
The play was halted for 17 minutes in the post-lunchsession after visiting players, led by their skipper DineshChandimal, wanted to leave the field of play complaining ofsevere pollution.
The Lankans were seen wearing anti-pollution masks duringthe post-lunch session. The play was halted between 12:32 pmto 12:49 pm after which the umpires and match referee DavidBoon convinced them to continue.
However, there was another stoppage of play in the 127thover when Lakmal walked off the field after bowling the fifthball. The umpires once again got together, chatting withChandimal and Angelo Mathews. Sri Lanka manager AsankaGurusinha and India coach Ravi Shastri also joined in.
DilruwanPerera finished the over and Sandakan bowled thenext before Chandimal stopped play because there were only 10Sri Lankans on the field.
Kohli then decided to declare India's first innings at536/7d in 127.5 overs.
Earlier, it was in the 123rd over being bowled by pacerLahiruGamage that play was stopped. Gamage was about to bowlhis fourth delivery and he stopped in his stride complainingof uneasiness.
Chandimal walked up to the on-field umpires Joel Wilsonand Nigel Llong to complain about the poor air quality,complaining that his fast bowler was finding it difficult tobreathe.
The light had also worsened due to the pollution and itwas evident that an already battered Sri Lankan team wanted anopportunity to leave the field.
Skipper ViratKohli, who was dismissed for 243 after theproceedings resumed, was in no mood to leave the field and laydown on the ground to take a break.
It was not clear as to why Gamage was again given the125th over when he again felt uneasy and was taken off thefield with SurangaLakmal completing the over.
Smog is a very common phenomenon in Delhi as farmers inthe adjoining states of Punjab and Haryana burn crops duringthe end of October and November.
However, smog, over the years, has been prevalent duringthe first two weeks of November. The BCCI has never beenforced to shift the venue of a Test match as the air qualityimproves during the month of December.