Worsening Delhi pollution halts a match, sends players to safety

India and Sri-Lanka players with their gas masks on after the match was stopped [PHOTO: COURTESY]

Hazardous smog stopped play in the third Test between India and Sri Lanka in New Delhi on Sunday, with players wearing face masks as air quality dipped in the heavily polluted capital.

Many of Sri Lanka's fielders returned from lunch on the second day wearing masks amid visible haze at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium

A short while later play was halted for around 20 minutes as Sri Lanka complained to the umpires about the smog.

The US embassy website Sunday showed levels of the smallest and most harmful airborne pollutants in Delhi at 328 -- more than ten times the level considered safe by the World Health Organization.

The Test was delayed as the umpires consulted the match referee, team doctors and physiotherapists before deciding to resume play.

But the visitors protested twice more and pacemen Lahiru Gamage and Suranga Lakmal returned to the pavilion, meaning the Sri Lankans were running short of fielders.

This prompted Indian skipper Virat Kohli to declare his first innings on 536 for seven to get the Sri Lankan fielders off the ground.

Play is routinely suspended due to poor weather, low visibility, lightning or rain but a stoppage as a result of pollution is almost unheard of.

"It is definitely a first of its kind," said one commentator on the official television broadcast.

Last month more than 30,000 runners competed in the Delhi half-marathon, despite dire health warnings from doctors who called for the race to be postponed.

Doctors warn that competitive exercise during severe pollution can trigger asthma attacks, worsen lung conditions and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Other top-level sporting events in Delhi, such as international cricket and golf tournaments, have attracted less attention despite the hazardous levels of pollution.

A smog outbreak last month in the Indian capital -- an incident described by doctors as a public health emergency -- saw schools shut for days as pollution soared to 40 times the safe WHO levels.

Delhi's air quality typically worsens in winter as cooler air traps pollutants near the ground, preventing them from dispersing into the atmosphere -- a phenomenon known as inversion

 

Next Story
LATEST STORIES
Jose Mourinho in 'furious training ground row' with Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba

Jose Mourinho in 'furious training ground row' with Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba

Arsenal and AC Milan meet in Europa League last 16

Arsenal and AC Milan meet in Europa League last 16

Manchester United star ruled out for Chelsea clash

Manchester United star ruled out for Chelsea clash

Football youngsters who made four legends retire

Most young footballers turn pro at the age of 18 and call it quits at the age of 36 making the average career life span to be around 18 years.

Manchester United superstar set to sign new contract

Manchester United superstar set to sign a contract extension to keep him in the club until 2020

KPL players betting against their own teams

visiting betting cybers ahead of the team’s matches, saying any losses registered after t

More Stories
Cricket: Kennedy's four wickets condemn last year's winners to third loss of the season

Obuya upset champs Swamibapa by 21 runs as Stray Lions extend their unbeaten record with a six wickets win over Kongonis.

Kenyans eye victory in Namibia

Kenya face United Arab Emirates in the opening match today as they chase a slot in next month’s World Cup qualifiers.