The stadium roof fell on spectators during the match between Australia and Sri Lanka in Lucknow. Chaotic scenes unfolded as strong winds wreaked havoc, causing scaffolding and advertising to fall from the stadium’s roof onto fans in the stands, forcing spectators to take evasive action.
The incident occurred during Sri Lanka’s match-opening innings when powerful winds swept through the Ekana stadium, initially resulting in a rain delay. Subsequently, a severe dust storm engulfed the venue, scattering debris like paper and packaging across the outfield.
The situation took a dangerous turn when hoardings and scaffolding attached to the stadium’s roof collapsed, prompting fans to flee the lower seating tier. Thankfully, due to the lower-than-capacity crowd, estimated at nowhere near the stadium’s 50,000 seating capacity, there was enough space for fans to escape harm.
This occurrence led to a five-minute delay towards the end of Sri Lanka’s innings and another delay before Australia began their chase of 210 runs. Eyewitnesses on social media reported that some audience members were injured, and a near stampede-like situation unfolded during the last over of the Sri Lankan innings.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) stated that no injuries were reported, but Telegraph Sport has reached out to the ICC for further clarification.
During the ICC’s broadcast, commentator Ian Smith expressed concern about the impact of the winds on spectators. He highlighted the risk posed by the falling hoardings and the structures supporting them, emphasizing the need for a break in the weather before proceeding with the match.
As Australia’s reply got underway, fans were permitted to return to the lower-tier seating. However, the strong winds persisted, raising concerns about further incidents.
While play continued, some fans called for the ICC and the tournament organizers, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), to remove advertising hoardings from stadium roofs to prevent future risks of serious injury in remaining matches.
On the cricket front, despite the turmoil, Sri Lanka’s batting lineup crumbled from a promising start of 125 without loss to a total of 209 all out. Australia managed to secure a victory by five wickets with 88 balls to spare, providing a boost to their net run-rate after suffering heavy defeats to India and South Africa earlier in the tournament.