Cold and hazy in Delhi, air quality worsens

Nick Lee

Nick Lee sported Sri Lankan jersey to take the field

The visiting Sri Lanka players wore masks while fielding after the lunch session on the second day at the Ferozeshah Kotla.

Skipper Virat Kohli's magnificent 243 (287b, 25×4) was overshadowed by unprecedented scenes of mask-wearing Sri Lankan players, who halted proceedings thrice, complaining of poor air quality, on day two of the third Test, here Sunday. The city government issued a health advisory, urging people to avoid smoking and go in for carpooling, among other things, to combat the situation.

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Sri Lankan coach Nic Pothas reported that the fast bowlers in particular were struggling, players were coming into the dressing room and vomiting. Under the freaky circumstances, the Sri Lankan trainer Nic Lee and fielding coach Manoj Abeywickrama were in full whites, ready to take the field if required.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said she was "ashamed" at seeing the Sri Lankan cricketers wearing pollution masks while playing against India in New Delhi. After the Lankan team manager walked on the field and had a word with the umpires and then it was a fuming Ravi Shastri who walked on to the field to have a talk with the umpires. The interruptions forced Kohli to declare the innings early and invited the visitors to bat. The BCCI scheduled this matches and our job is to get the best out of our team. I thought the match officials and match referee handled the situation very very well. "They were failing to stop the Indian players and that is why they made a plan to stop the play", Sunandan said.

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So Delhiites just two to three days to fight with this fatal air, as rains are only steps away. "The conditions are the same for both teams and we are not too bothered about it", Arun said. According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality was very poor in past 24 hours with Index value at 359 based on 13 monitoring stations at 1800 hrs.

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