New Delhi : Sri Lankan all-rounder Angelo Mathews termed it “worse” than before but Indian pacer Mohammed Shami found nothing out of ordinary in the pollution levels, which had prompted the visitors to hold up proceedings in the ongoing third Test here.
Delhi’s air quality continued to be in the “very poor” category, something which had led to play being stopped on three occasions on Sunday. Sri Lankan players had taken the field wearing anti-pollution masks in the post-lunch session complaining of breathing problems. “It was pretty much the same as Sunday, I would say. Or even a bit worse! I am not really sure. Look, it’s up to the match referee (David Boon) and also the umpires (Nigel Llong and Joel Wilson) to take a decision on that,” Mathews said after the third days at the end of which Sri Lanka were 356/9 in reply to India’s 536/7.
“We are out here to play cricket and we want to get on the park,” he added. India bowled 85.3 overs on the day and not for once was play stopped due to players complaining about pollution.
When asked if he felt any uneasiness while bowling long spells unlike his Lankan counterparts Lahiru Gamage and Suranga Lakmal, Shami said: “I was a bit under the weather even before the match started. I had cold.” “Yes, pollution is an aspect that we seriously need to think about. But what has been portrayed (by Sri Lanka), it wasn’t to that extent also. Also it could be a factor that we are more used to (pollution) it and our ability to adjust is much more compared to them,” Shami gave a straight answer to the question. But the speedster did mention that one needs to get to the root of the problem and solve it. “I think we need to check what is the reason for this pollution and try to minimise it. Look we are used to suffering from all these problems,” Shami replied with a smile.
When Mathews was asked if ICC should have a clause with regards to pollution in their playing conditions, he sidestepped the question. “It’s up to the match referee to talk to the ICC. This was one of those unique occasions, where we never had this kind of issues. The Indian team seemed irritated on Sunday with their antics but Mathews said there was no bad blood. “As I said, it was one of those unique occasions, where no one knew what to do. It didn’t hamper the relation of the players at all. We play hard on the field, and off the field, we are great friends,” he said.
Dinesh Chandimal celebrates his century against India during the third day of third Test, at Firozshah Kotla in New Delhi on Monday.