Sri Lankan coach Nic Pothas has claimed that his players had faced a lot of trouble due to the bad air quality in Delhi and on coming off the field, they started vomiting. The second day of the final Test was interrupted regularly as the Lankans kept complaining about the quality of air in Delhi.
After facing a 9-0 whitewash across all formats against India in their home series in July-August, Sri Lanka visited India, after thrashing Pakistan, with a renewed sense of optimism. However, after India won the Nagpur Test by an innings and 239 runs and scored an astonishing 371/4 at the end of Day 1 in Delhi, all the pressure came creeping back in.
Delhi fans, who were watching their first Test in two years, were privileged enough to witness Kohli’s sixth double-century in Tests. However, they also witnessed one of the most bizarre moments in recent years. The second day at the Kotla was stopped for an “Oxygen-break”, as the Sri Lankan players were having trouble while breathing due to the high pollution that exists in the city.
Meanwhile, the Indian players were comfortable with the air and wanted to continue the game as soon as possible. But the polluted air forced two Sri Lankan players to leave the ground which eventually resulted in India declaring prematurely. The visitors received a lot of flak on social media for their antics but the Sri Lankan coach clarified the players’ situation was indeed dire.
"We had players coming off the field and vomiting," he told reporters after the match as quoted by AFP.
"There were oxygen cylinders in the change room. It's not normal for players to suffer in that way while playing the game. I think it's the first time that everybody has come across that situation."
Pothas also said that the Sri Lankans would leave the decision about whether the game should go ahead in the hands of the match referee.
"There aren't too many rules regarding pollution. What we are going to do tomorrow is in the hands of the match referee. They will have meetings tonight to put in some sort of a precedent if it happens like this tomorrow," he explained.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India targetted the visiting side for making headlines for the wrong reasons.
"If 20,000 people in the stands did not have a problem and the Indian team did not face any issue, I wonder why Sri Lankan team made a big fuss?" said CK Khanna, acting BCCI president.