We are in Delhi. Sri Lanka are in Virat-Kohli’s home town. It’s another 5-day contest with chances of the game swinging in one direction.
It will be foolish to bet on Sri Lanka. Expecting them to crawl over India would be nothing less catastrophic than expecting Mitch Marsh to make a comeback into the Australian side.
Once again, Sri Lankans are expected to battle Ashwin, Jadeja, Shami.
But there’s a great deal more.
There’s local street food, overdone advertising campaigns, street cows that refuse to move from roads like J.K. Rowling from producing another in the endless Harry Potter Series.
But to Sri Lanka’s misery, they have to spend 5 days at the Kotla, before they can move on to munch some street food. In nearly two days of helpless bowling, they’ve failed to get India out.
Their woes double with fans declaring that Radhe Maa- a popular Indian religious figure- has cursed them. She chides, “Sri Lankans you will lose mercilessly”.
Chandimal, meanwhile, moves on, not knowing what to do.
Indians, meanwhile are unrelenting. They continue to produce runs akin to the bathroom output one experiences from the result of a heavy, overcooked, oily meal from last night’s dinner.
But even the commentators are inflicted with a problem.
To be fair, it’s like being stuck with some monotony. How best to describe yet another beautiful, free-flowing Virat Kohli cover drive? He’s hit yet another double hundred.
Harsha Bhogale, scratching his head, confesses he has run out of adjectives. He has made repeated rounds of the Oxford. He can do no better than stumbling upon ‘redonkulous’, a phrase he’s borrowed from a Shashi Tharoor narrative that means just plain stupid.
As fans, you immediately wonder were Sri Lanans redonkulous in playing India again, that too on a flat Delhi pitch?
Meanwhile, the runs keep coming, quite like another of Trump’s mindless rhetoric. There’s just no end to them. For a while, Sri Lankans resemble the protesting Americans.
The only difference is, there are not in Washington D.C.; they’re in New Delhi with an old hag, that of a thickly mushrooming layer of smog.
How is one to play with so much of pollution? Even Sanjay Manjrekar laments but soon, he realises he isn’t out there; he’s sipping hot tomato soup from the comfort of the commentary box. Even Ravi Shastri, wearing tight blue knickers, isn’t complaining.
What’s the matter Sri Lanka? Everyone’s gastric system is fine?
But not all is well with Chandimal and company. Apparently, the air is so bad that they take to the field wearing what looks a redonkulous equivalent of a shower cap for the face mask. Fashion critics rule out the move, saying Bane wore a better mask in The Dark Knight Rises.
Sri Lanka’s mask resembles the one doctors wear inside an intensive care unit. But, out there, they operate with a bit more precision. Only in Sri Lanka’s case, they are being surgically dismantled-piece by piece -by Kohli’s blade.
In fact, at times, it’s looked like a knife.
What is one to do? As fans you wonder if wearing a mask was a scare tactic resorted to by the Lankans in order to dissuade Kohli from reaching a triple hundred? Covering the face with tightly-threaded cotton doesn’t make one pretty. Although, the sight looks slightly bearable than Sehwag’s Twitter humour.
The triple hundred club is an elite cauldron. Lara, reports confirm, is shivering with panic. He doesn’t think that Lakmal has it in him to stop Kohli for going over 350.
There is a great deal of discomfort that Gamage is facing. He recedes to a slow halt, complaining he can’t bowl more. The problem is, if he wears a mask and bowl then his sledges won’t reach Virat- who, by now has become a monk in a state of serene concentration.
Suddenly, Angelo Mathews, Chandimal gather together to complain to umpires about the dense smog. They can’t breathe properly, so how can they be expected to remove Virat Kohli- now appearing like Mount Atlas in front of a tiny army of ants?
Then, upon 22 minutes of deliberation, umpires console Lankans well enough to resume.
All have admitted that Kohli doesn’t feel pollution for he is a superhero; possessing a subliminal element.
It only makes sense to carry on. Gamage, however, resists the temptation of being smacked for more runs and leaves for the dressing room. 3 Mushroom patties and some Delhi-chaat awaits him there. Meanwhile, the Sri Lankans, rolling their tongues continue. What else can they also do?
There are still two and a half days of horse-whipping remaining.
But they feel calm when being told that Kohli has personally invited Chandimal to a trip to Old Delhi, for food and some chai. There’s just one condition: he won’t be wearing any masks then.