Nine of the fielding Sri Lankan team members resorted to wearing respiratory masks as smog levels rose steadily through the morning.
New Delhi: Soaring pollution levels in the ITO-Delhi Gate area of India’s capital forced a halt to play on the second day of the third and final India-Sri Lanka Test at Ferozes-hah Kotla here Sunday.
Nine of the fielding Sri Lankan team members resorted to wearing respiratory masks as smog levels rose steadily through the morning. By early afternoon, the area was enveloped in a hazy blanket with the Air Quality Index at 206, or “very unhealthy” level.
“This was an unprecedented situation,” Sri Lankan coach Nic Pothas said. “Obviously it is well documented that Delhi has a high level of pollution. That got extremely high, we had players coming in and vomiting. There were oxygen cylinders in the dressing room. It is not normal for players to suffer in that way.”
The particulate matter (PM) 2.5 reading in the area after noon was above 300 and in excess of 150 for PM 10.
India captain Virat Kohli had completed his sixth career double century and was batting on 240 when his opposite number Dinesh Chandimal, urged on by his players, asked umpires Nigel Llong and Joel Wilson that play be suspended.
This is the first incident of its kind in Test cricket’s 140-year history, with an international team wearing masks while fielding and then refusing to go on, stopping play for 26 minutes over three interruptions. Kohli, who was dismissed for 243 after the action resumed, was forced to declare at 536 for seven as Sri Lankan substitute fielders too refused to take the field.