Not to forget the masks that came out as the Lankans tried to counter the Delhi pollution and kept complaining of the smog troubling the players. In fact, at one point the Lankans had 10 players on the field before a miffed Kohli decided to declare the India innings at 536/7 before removing two Lankan batsmen going into the tea break.
But none of this unsporting tactic from the visitors can take away from the fact that Virat Kohli batted for 99 deliveries in the very conditions and was at the non-striker’s end for another 111 deliveries to bring up his sixth double century — joining Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag at the top for most double hundreds for India. He cut, pulled, drove, flicked and even converted ones into twos without bothering about the difficult aerial conditions — once again showing why fitness is such an integral part of even the gentleman’s game in the modern era.
In fact, if former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is to be trusted for his experience, it was the twin breaks in play — with Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal and his boys complaining of the weather conditions — that finally led to Kohli’s (243) dismissal against the run of play when he looked set to score 250. But Kohli and the boys came out all guns blazing and picked two wickets before the tea break as Mohammed Shami removed Dimuth Karunaratne (0) off the first ball of the innings. Dhananjaya’s (1) innings too lasted only 14 balls as the Indians dominated the show.
But a counter-attack from Mathews (57*) with Dilruwan Perera (42) for company saw the visitors end the day on 131/3, still trailing by 405 with seven wickets in hand. With Shami and Ishant Sharma spewing fire literally, it was an important innings from Mathews to just wear them out and get the Lankans back in the game. While their backs are still against the wall, it makes for better viewing with skipper Chandimal unbeaten on 25 at stumps.
Earlier, the opening session was completely dominated by Kohli and Rohit Sharma. While Virat was still happy to wait for the bad deliveries, Rohit looked keen to take the attack to the Lankan spinners and was happy to even dance down the track. Such was their domination that the spinners were back in action only after Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage bowled six overs combined with the second new ball.
In fact, a stiff back couldn’t stop Kohli from sending the Lankan bowlers on a leather hunt. He looked in ominous touch as he brought up his double hundred and just when it looked like India would have another session without losing a wicket, Lakshan Sandakan dismissed Rohit (65) on the stroke of lunch. India went into lunch with the score on 500/5.
The post-lunch session was more about the smog and the drama surrounding that as even Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas and India’s chief coach Ravi Shastri was seen walking into the ground as first Lakmal and then Gamage complained of breathing problem and chest pain. In fact, the first break saw play stopped for close to 16 minutes. The second and third stoppages were slightly on the shorter side as every break saw India losing a wicket. The frustration finally got to Kohli and he decided it was time to give the bowlers a go at the Lankan batsmen.
Angel Baby singerAngelo Mathewscricket pollutiondelhi pollutionDelhi Testferoz shah kotlaind vs sl 2017India Sri LankaIndia Sri Lanka Third Testsmog
First Published: December 3, 2017, 5:07 PM IST