'The strange thing is that they (Sri Lanka) did not face any problem till the lunch time of the second day. But as soon as they were handed masks following lunch, the 6 to 7 players were seen wearing masks on the field. And the two fast bowlers who were already facing problems were handed bowling'
Taking a dig at Sri Lankan players for halting the second day's play during the third Test in Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium on Sunday, veteran journalist Sunandan Lele has said the visiting team did that intentionally to break the rhythm of the Indian batsmen.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli batted for nearly seven and half hours to notch his career-best knock of 243 runs before he was forced to declare the innings 536-7 after Sri Lankan players halted play for 26 minutes, citing uneasiness due to poor air quality caused by smog in the national capital.
In the post-lunch session, the visitors disrupted play for several minutes citing poor air quality before match referee David Boon asked them to resume the second day's play.
However, play was stopped once again when Dinesh Chandimal pointed out that only 10 Sri Lankan were on the field, as a result forcing Indian skipper Kohli to declare their innings.
"I have covered over 200 Tests and never witnessed such situation on a cricket ground. You can clearly see that there is a problem of air pollution in Delhi and count levels are very high. The strange thing is that they (Sri Lanka) did not face any problem till the lunch time of the second day. But as soon as they were handed masks following lunch, the 6 to 7 players were seen wearing masks on the field. And the two fast bowlers who were already facing problems were handed bowling," he told ANI.
The veteran journalist further believes that the Sri Lankan team halted the play because they were finding it difficult to stop the Indian players.
"So, I felt it a bit strange. If they had a problem, then why not from very first day. And if there was a problem from the second day then why not from very first ball. To an extent it is true that Delhi is facing a problem of air pollution. But, this is also a fact that Sri Lankan players did so to break the rhythm of Virat Kohli. They were failing to stop the Indian players and that is why they made a plan to stop the play," Sunandan said.