India vs Sri Lanka| Talking Points from Day 2 of Third Test

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India vs Sri Lanka| Talking Points from Day 2 of Third Test

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Subhayan Dutta


India’s glorious batting innings came to an abrupt end on Sunday when the smoggy atmosphere inside Feroz Shah Kotla forced an annoyed Virat Kohli to declare at 536/7. Sri Lanka didn’t start well either with Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Ravindra Jadeja reducing them to 131/3 by the end of Day 2.

Brief Scores : India 536/7d (Virat Kohli 243, Murali Vijay 155; Lakshan Sandakan 4/167, Lahiru Gamage 95/2) lead Sri Lanka 131/3 (Angelo Mathews 57, Dilruwan Perera 42; Angelo Mathews; Ravindra Jadeja 24/1, M Shami 30/1) by 405 runs

Is the Indian capital fit to host an international cricket game?

Delhi has been amidst the grasp of poor air quality for years now. While numerous approaches have been taken by the government to curb it, none have been too successful. However, things got out of hand on Day 2 of the third Test between Indian and Sri Lanka when the match was interrupted due to smog and Sri Lanka and the Indian players, Ashwin, were seen coughing and out of breath.

Earlier in the day, Kuldeep Yadav was seen wearing a mask while practicing and when the game resumed after lunch, numerous players were seen donning the same. The game was interrupted for a considerable amount of time due to the smoggy atmosphere allover Feroz Shah Kotla with players contemplating the future course of action, which was definitely a poor advertisement of the capital city.

Delhi, however, seemed to be repulsive to India’s neighbours of late. Prior to this incident, Sri Lankan players were forced to abandon an ODI back in 2009 where the match officials had concluded that the pitch was of "extremely variable bounce and too dangerous for further play". However, while Delhi had someone to blame for it that saw the immediate sacking of the BCCI's Grounds and Wickets Committee, they seem helpless this time.

Confusion ensued amidst the fog 

Though it was the first time in the history of cricket that something like poor air quality has been an interruption, given the sport’s golden history and detailed rules that has been laid down over the years, it should have been dealt way better that how it panned out on Sunday.

After Lahiru Gamage went down on his knees, looking out of breath with the team doctor rushing onto the field, the white masked Sri Lankan players had a real concern, who were looking for assurance if they could continue without any adverse effect on their health. Skipper Dinesh Chandimal had an animated discussion with the umpire to discontinue the game, but the officials decided otherwise.

The sudden pause broke India’s focus, who had been almost invincible over the past two days, with Ashwin returning to pavilion immediately as the game resumed. After Gamage failed to continue, Lakmal followed suit a couple of overs later, which paused the game yet again and Kohli, who was en route to his maiden triple ton, was visibly annoyed by it.

Confusion ensued when Sri Lanka team manager Asanka Gurusinha walked in the field to discuss matters at hand, who was soon followed by Ravi Shastri. Hardly has any game at the international level seen such tumultuous state of affairs in the middle, with the officials, who are supposed to be the guardian of the law, seeming helpless and clueless.

Has Mohammad Shami confirmed his SA tour spot?

Though India’s batting ended abruptly when an annoyed Virat Kohli looked fed up with Sri Lanka’s repeated concerns with the air inside the Kotla, their bowling started with Mohammad Shami bang on target with the very first ball. Kotla saw the floodlights coming into action at around 1pm before Sri Lanka decided to open with Dilruwan Perera alongside Dimuth Karunaratne.

While their tactics were very clear, to see off the dark day without losing any valuable batsmen, Shami laid waste to it with a magnificent first ball that forced Karunaratne to nick the ball back to Saha. This isn’t the first time that Shami has proved to be one of Kohli’s go-to bower with the new ball. At Eden Gardens too, Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had almost won India the game before Sri Lanka saved themselves by the skin of their teeth and the pacer from Bengal looked to unleash a similar wrath on Sunday afternoon again. And if not for the three dropped catches in the slips, which was so uncharacteristic of India, he could have slashed Sri Lanka by half on Sunday itself.

He is India’s only bowler who has been hitting the deck over 140kmph consistently and with brilliant control over his line and length. He looks to be regaining the kind of form he showed before his injury and with India showing their confidence in him by benching Umesh Yadav for the last Test, Shami might as well book a ticket for the upcoming Proteas tour.

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