NEW DELHI: Virat Kohli smashed a record double century to put India on top in the third Test against Sri Lanka, whose fielders wore anti-pollution masks in extraordinary scenes in a smoggy Delhi on Sunday.
Kohli cracked a career-best 243 but his sixth double century as captain was overshadowed on the second day after Sri Lanka complained about air pollution in the Indian capital, halting play three times.
The match was delayed more than 20 minutes in the second session as smog visibly worsened at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium and the umpires consulted the match referee and team doctors.
Sri Lankan fast bowlers Lahiru Gamage and Suranga Lakmal returned to the pavilion amid the drama, leaving the visitors short of fielders and prompting Kohli to declare India’s first innnings on 536-7.
Sri Lanka were 131 for three at stumps, trailing the hosts by 405 runs.
Angelo Mathews, on 57, and skipper Dinesh Chandimal, on 25, were batting when bad light stopped play for the day.
Mathews, who returned to form with a fighting half-century, and Chandimal steadied the Sri Lankan innings with an unbeaten 56-run stand.
Pace spearhead Mohammed Shami struck with the very first ball of the innings to dismiss left-hander Dimuth Karunaratne.
Lanky paceman Ishant Sharma then trapped Dhananjaya de Silva lbw for one as the visitors took tea on 18-2.
Dilruwan Perera, who scored 42 after opening the batting in place of Samarawickrama, staged a gritty 61-run partnership with Mathews.
Both Perera and Mathews were given reprieves, on 16 and six respectively, after Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli dropped catches in the slips.
Perera was eventually trapped lbw by left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja as Sri Lanka slipped furthur.
But the day belonged to Kohli, who recorded his second successive 200-plus score to pulverise the Sri Lankan attack after India started the day on 371-4.
He surpassed West Indies great Brian Lara to become the first international captain to register six double centuries. Lara had five.
Kohli, who started the day on 156, combined with overnight partner Rohit Sharma, who scored 65, to put on 135 for the fifth wicket.
Kohli, who made 213 in India’s thrashing of Sri Lanka in the second Test, pulled Lakmal for a couple to reach his milestone, raising his bat to acknowledge a raucous home crowd.
The Delhi-born star was finally trapped lbw off left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan, who claimed four wickets in the innings.
India lead the series 1-0 and need only a draw for a record-equalling ninth successive Test series triumph.
England and Australia are the other sides to have achieved the feat.—AFP