Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal vomited on the ground Tuesday as pollution levels soared on the fourth day of the third and final Test between India and Sri Lanka in New Delhi.
Lakmal, who got Murali Vijay caught behind for nine, was seen vomiting on the ground before heading back to the dressing room. He later came back to bowl.
Groundsmen rushed in to cover the spot with sand and sawdust as air pollution at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium took centre stage for a fourth day.
A doctor at the stadium examined three Sri Lankan players and said their vitals were normal.
At Tea, Shikhar Dhawan hit a brisk half-century to stretch India’s lead to 355. The hosts were 192 for four at tea on the fourth day with skipper Virat Kohli (25) and Rohit Sharma (28) batting.
Play had been disrupted three times on Sunday as Sri Lankan players complained of illness, but umpires ruled the match would proceed.
The Indian Medical Association condemned the decision, warning that playing in such conditions put athletes’ health at serious risk.
“This match should not have taken place in the first place. It is time the ICC (International Cricket Council) comes up with a policy on pollution,” said IMA president KK Aggarwal.
“You have fast bowlers, batsmen and fielders out there exposed to these very harmful pollutants over five days at a stretch. It takes a serious toll on your health in the long run.”
The sport’s governing body declined to comment.
India’s powerful cricket board accused Sri Lanka of making a “big fuss”, pointing to Indian skipper Virat Kohli who hit a record sixth Test double century despite the smog.
But the US embassy website on Monday urged Delhi residents to “avoid all outdoor exertion” as concentrations of the smallest and most harmful airborne pollutants known as PM2.5 soared to hazardous levels.
These tiny particles – a fraction the size of human hair – lodge deep in the lungs and are linked to higher rates of chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and heart disease.
The concentration of such particles Monday hit 448 – compared to a maximum level of 25 considered safe by the World Health Organization over a 24-hour period.
Even limited exposure can cause shortness of breath and make the eyes weep and throat burn.