Sri Lanka’s stand-in coach Nic Pothas was left wondering if the light situation in the final session on Day 4 was a ‘coincidence’ as Sri Lanka lost three crucial wickets in chase of a mammoth 410.
Twice in the last session, the light was deemed ‘not enough’ right after Sri Lanka had lost a wicket, raising suspicion in the mind of the coach, though he admitted that he had ‘no doubt’ that the light meter was spot on.
“At the moment I am wondering whether it is a coincidence that we lose a wicket to a seam bowler and all of a sudden the light turns bad, and we lose two wickets to spin and we just come off,” Pothas said in a press conference on Tuesday (December 5).
“I am sure the light meter is absolutely spot on, I’ve no doubt. But to me it looked too much of a coincidence to lose a wicket and then see suddenly it is too dark for the seamers, and we lose two wickets to spin and then it is too dark and we are off. Can it deteriorate that quick? I don’t know.”
Pothas’s frustration was also directed at the way Sri Lanka ended the day on a bit of a sticky wicket, after having done fairly well earlier in the day.
“It’s not ideal to lose three wickets. It is frustrating at the end of the day. If we look back on the day, we did pretty well in the morning to extend our innings and I thought we bowled very well upfront. But yet, it is frustrating.”
The Delhi Test has been dominated by the menace of air pollution and the opposite opinions coming from both dressing rooms regarding the issue. Sri Lanka have maintained their stance regarding the problem but have also ensured that they’ve moved on and played when they’ve been instructed to do so.
Even on Day 4, one of their players Suranga Lakmal seemed to be affected by it – as he threw up after bowling a few overs. India pacer Mohammed Shami too seemed to have borne the brunt of the polluted air late in the day.
There was also speculation on Day 4 that a local doctor was carrying out some basic tests on the Sri Lankan players in the dressing room to see if they’ve been affected by the pollution. Pothas confirmed that some tests were being done but stated that he was not in the know of the details of the same.
“There was some tests done. I have no idea what they were, so it doesn’t tell you [anything]… We saw at the end of today, Shami [was] also struggling. The guys did superbly well to deal with the situation. A situation is a situation, so lets get on with it. The guys did fantastically well throughout the day. I am not a doctor so I’ve no idea what these tests tell you, what we are testing why are testing, it doesn’t make anything get away,” Pothas said.
As it stands, Sri Lanka need 379 more runs to pull off the unthinkable. Having lost three wickets already, that may not be as straightforward a task on the final Day. Yet, the Feroz Shah Kotla surface still appears good enough for batting, and Pothas reckons his batsmen don’t need to be sceptical and careful.
“I think if you go sceptical and careful, you won’t last very long. It’s for us to have a discussion in the change room. I don’t think there’s very many fancy plays that are required on the last day of the Test. We’ve got seven wickets, the wicket is still very very good,” Pothas opined.