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Crowd trouble took the spotlight away from India’s series win as disgruntled fans held up play for more than 30 minutes on Sunday.Disappointed spectators threw water and cold drink bottles as the visitors’ victory appeared imminent.

Such crowd disturbances aren’t new to most of the sub-continental countries, but the island nation had distinguished itself from staying away from such disgraceful behaviour. However, the continued dismal show by the Lankans, who conceded the series 3-0 with still two ODIs to go, was perhaps too much to stomach for a section of the crowd.

India were 210 for four in 44 overs in pursuit of Sri Lanka’s total of 217 for nine in 50 overs when the frustrated crowd rained bottles down the ground from either side of the grass beds.

The Lankan fielders had to gather in the middle of the field to escape being hit while Indian batsmen Rohit Sharma (124 n.o.) and MS Dhoni (67 n.o.) relaxed by stretching themselves near the pitch. Dhoni, with his face to the ground, even appeared to take a quick nap.

Though the cops kept a close eye, the crowd remained relentless before the special police forces evicted thousands of spectators out of a part of the ground from where the trouble was emanating.

The match officials, led by match referee Andy Pycroft, allowed play to resume once they were convinced that the situation was under control. With less than half the ground occupied now, India reached 218 for four in 45.1 overs.


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