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'Like smoking 80 cigarettes a day': Sydney turns Delhi as smog clouds SCG in Sheffield Shield clash

'Like smoking 80 cigarettes a day': Sydney turns Delhi as smog clouds SCG in Sheffield Shield clash
Liam Hatcher stands in the outfield amid the smoke haze from bushfires at the SCG in Sydney. (Source: Reuters)

A thick blanket of smog engulfed the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Tuesday owing to a bushfire smoke in the city. As a result, the players who were taking part in a Sheffield Shield match (between New South Wales and Queensland) were left with wheezing cough and breathlessness.

Although NSW excelled under the conditions to beat Queensland by nine wickets to extend their unbeaten start, the highlight of the day was the smoggy conditions across the city. Australia opener and captain of Queensland Usman Khawaja, who scored 54, said the smoggy conditions reminded him of playing in India.

“When we arrived here this morning it reminded me of playing in India,” Usman Khawaja was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.

Incidentally, a T20I match between India and Bangladesh last month was affected by smog at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi.

Thick smog at the Sydney Cricket Ground. (Source: AAP) Players in action amidst the haze. (Source: AAP) The play continues despite visibility concerns. (Source: AAP) Steve O’Keefe has his head in hands. (Source: AAP)

In the match between NSW and Queensland, bowlers also had a tough time in conditions which affected visibility. Match officials and medical staff monitored readings throughout the day as a precaution, but play wasn’t stopped because of the haze.

NSW spinner Steve O’Keefe, who finished with figures 3/28 compared the conditions to ‘smoking 80 cigarettes a day’.

“It’s not healthy,” said O’Keefe. “It’s toxic. That was shocking.”

“I don’t have kids, but if I did they’d be locked up inside, and if I was at home I wouldn’t be training or playing. For someone like me who smokes 40 a day, it’s now like smoking 80 cigarettes a day,” he said.

Sydney has endured air quality surpassing “hazardous” levels for weeks, as about 100 blazes continue to rage throughout New South Wales (NSW).

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