Sri Lanka reaches 131-3 vs India amid pollution drama

BY AP • December 3, 2017

NEW DELHI (AP) Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal put on 56 runs for the fourth wicket as Sri Lanka reached 131-3 at stumps on day two of the third test against India in Delhi on Sunday.

Earlier, India declared its first innings on 536-7 with Virat Kohli (243) scoring his sixth double hundred. The Sri Lankan players had earlier complained about the air pollution in Delhi with play stopping three times in the middle session before the Indian declaration.

At stumps, Mathews was batting on 57 while Chandimal was unbeaten on 25. The visitors trail by another 405 runs.

After tea, Sri Lanka needed to rebuild from 18-2. Dilruwan Perera (42) played an important hand as he stabilized the innings. He put on 61 runs with Mathews for the fourth wicket.

Mathews was lucky to survive at the wicket when he was given two lives immediately after the tea break. First, Shikhar Dhawan dropped him when on 4 not out at second slip off Mohammed Shami (1-30). Then, Virat Kohli dropped him while he was on 6 not out at second slip off Ishant Sharma (1-44) this time.

Ravindra Jadeja (1-24) got the breakthrough as he trapped Perera lbw via DRS.

Mathews and Chandimal then came together and batted out the session before bad light stopped play on an eventful day. Mathews reached his 29th test half-century off 72 balls.

Earlier, Sri Lankan fielders protested the level of air pollution prevalent in Delhi, forcing three stoppages of play. Between these stoppages Virat Kohli was dismissed for his highest test score of 243.

Only six overs were possible after lunch before Sri Lanka pacer Lahiru Gamage (2-95) asked for medical attention owing to breathlessness. Play was halted for 20 minutes.

Four overs later, Suranga Lakmal (0-80) also walked off with the same complaint. Play was halted again for 11 minutes as Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal was involved in an animated discussion with umpires Nigel Llong and Joel Wilson.

Support staff from both teams walked on to the field at different times and took the opportunity to discuss the situation with the umpires. For Sri Lanka, team manager Asanka Gurusinha and coach Nic Pothas came onto the field while Indian coach Ravi Shastri also joined in.

''In most conditions you want to play cricket. We just wanted some clarity on condition and safety of players. Lakmal and Gamage were vomiting in dressing room. The umpires were very clear about playing on and they did a good job,'' said Sri Lankan coach Nic Pothas after the day's play.

''This was an abnormal situation. They did not have any prior medical conditions and yesterday evening too they were fine. The captain wanted to speak to me because at one stage we only had ten players on the field. The umpires were very clear but there aren't many rules written on pollution,'' he added.

Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun disagreed with the assessment.

''Sri Lankan players cannot protest about stoppage of play. The umpires alone have that power. (Coach) Ravi Shastri went on to the field to tell the umpires that there is no reason to stop the game and to please carry on,'' he said.

In the morning session, Kohli and Rohit Sharma (65) extended their fifth wicket partnership to 135 runs.

After reaching 213 in Nagpur, Kohli scored his second consecutive double hundred off 238 balls. In doing so, he overtook Brian Lara as the test skipper with the most double hundreds to his name. The former West Indies' cricketer scored five as captain.

At the other end, Sharma scored his 8th test half-century off 88 balls but was caught behind just before lunch for 65. India reached 500 in the 118th over.

After the pollution protest disruptions, Sri Lanka got the big dismissal of Kohli, who was trapped lbw by Lakshan Sandakan (4-167). He went past his previous best of 235 against England at Mumbai last November. Overall, he faced 287 balls and hit 25 fours over 430 minutes.

''Sri Lanka's protests perhaps did break Kohli's rhythm. He batted for nearly two days and didn't need to wear any masks. We are focused on winning this game,'' said Arun.

India leads the three-match series 1-0 after winning in Nagpur by an innings and 239 runs. The first test in Kolkata was drawn.

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