Smog affects Kotla Test, players spotted wearing masks

Angelo Mathews was one of the many players to be wearing a pollution mask

NEW DELHI: The alarming level of smog in Delhi was visible at the Ferozshah Kotla stadium, as a number of players were spotted wearing pollution masks during Day 2 of the second Test between India and Sri Lanka.

About 30 minutes into the post-lunch session, play was even halted for approximately 10-12 minutes when Lahiru Gamage began coughing between his overs.

Once play resumed after lunch, Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal, along with experienced campaigner Angelo Mathews, Roshan Silva and Suranga Lakmal were the few players fielding with pollution masks on.

Before lunch, India chinaman Kuldeep Yadav was also spotted a similar mask on the bench and so was fielding coach R Sreedhar.

Lakmal also suffered in the first session but he carried on after having a drink. The playing conditions also didn’t seem suitable due to plenty of haze.

Umpires Nigel Llong and Joel Wilson were involved in an animated conversation with Chandimal. The team physio was seen in conversation with David Boon, the match referee, who eventually asked play to be continued.

Gamage however, went off the field after the 125th over. Shortly afterward, Lakmal too went off. The entire incident however, was a blessing in disguise for Sri Lanka as those abrupt intervals resulted in the wickets of R Ashwin and Virat Kohli in quick succession.

The national capital since last week has witnessed a sharp drop in temperature in the wake of the winter season, but unfortunately, the city’s air pollution levels continue to rise. Delhi woke up to a cold-polluted Sunday morning with minimum temperature recorded at 8 degrees Celsius,

a notch below the season’s average and a “very-poor” air-quality. According to the Central Pollution Control Authority (CPCB), the air-quality fell under “severe-plus or emergency” levels at Anand Vihar in west Delhi with PM2.5 reaching 433 in the morning – 17 times the safe limit, sector 125 Noida and Vasundhara in Ghaziabad.

In Delhi, Delhi Technical University (DTU) in north Delhi and R.K Puram in south-west Delhi fell under “severe” air-quality.

Last year, Delhi smog also forced the cancellation of two Ranji Trophy fixtures in Delhi: Group A clash between Gujarat and Bengal and the Group C fixture between Hyderabad and Tripura.

Kohli, who scored his sixth Test double century earlier in the day, had also posted a video message on Twitter informing people of Delhi to stay cautious and take up precautionary measures to counter the rising level of smog in the national capital.

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