SL coach Pothas mulls fading light 'coincidence'
In the dying moments of the fourth day, Sri Lanka lost a wicket to a fast bowler minutes before it was deemed too dark for the quicks to operate and two in an over to a spinner before it became the last over of the day
As Sri Lanka faced the uphill task of batting out close to four sessions for a draw against India, they also became victims of a practice in Test cricket that has drawn the ire of many an observer. The natural light at Feroz Shah Kotla had been dodgy all day, with floodlights coming on even before the start of play. But in the dying minutes of the day, they lost a wicket to a fast bowler minutes before it was deemed too dark for the quicks to operate and two in an over to a spinner before it became the last over of the day.
The umpires go by their light metres, and take the players off once the reading drops to a level that had become the precedent earlier in the match. However, it has often been observed - and not limited to this Test - that a wicket often brings action from the umpires.
"At the moment I am just wondering if it is a coincidence that we lose a wicket to seam bowler and then all of a sudden the light is too bad for seam bowling, and then we lose two wickets to a spinner and then all of a sudden we come off," Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas said. "It is a bit of a coincidence, I would have thought."
Asked to elaborate on that comment, Pothas said: "It can be pretty frustrating. We are in India, playing against a very very good cricket team. Momentum is a big thing in sport. Luck plays a big part in sport. Sometimes you just want a little bit of a rub of the green.
"As I said I am sure the light metre is absolutely spot on. I have no doubt about it. For me it is too much of a coincidence that we lose a wicket to seam and suddenly it is too dark for seamers, and then we lose two wickets to spinners and suddenly it is too dark and we are off? Can it deteriorate so quick? I am not an expert. I don't know."
Then, after a pause, he said: "It obviously can."
Pothas, though, said he was happy to leave the decision making to the umpires. Asked if he had discussed this matter with the officials, he said: "No there is nothing to discuss. The officials make a decision. There is a light metre there, they have a number. There is nothing to discuss. I back their decision."
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo