Cricket Australia say there is a chance the Black Caps third test against Australia in Sydney could be halted due to bushfire smoke.
On Saturday an Australian Big Bash League cricket game was abandoned after a thick layer of smoke blanketed Canberra.
Bushfire smoke filled the stadium during the fifth over of the Sydney Thunder's run chase against the Adelaide Strikers, forcing players from the field due to poor air quality and impaired vision.
Spectators were scrambling for face masks as conditions Manuka Oval worsened – at one stage the air quality on Canberra was reported to be seven times worse than Delhi.
More than 3,000,000 hectares of land has been burned across Australia in bushfires since August, killing at least nine people.
Earlier this month a domestic Sheffield Shield game between New South Wales and Queensland was played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, which hosts the third test starting January 2, with a heavy haze hanging over the ground.
Cricinfo reports if the Air Quality Index reaches above 300, then ICC guidelines say umpires can consider suspending play.
"We hope not, but potentially," Peter Roach, CA's head of cricket operations, told Cricinfo.
"What we've seen in Sydney and Canberra is that it comes to a point where it becomes a challenge. Rules are in place, like rain, to add time for suspended play.
"What we are finding is that it can come in quick, but it can also go quick so it's unlikely it will be there for a full day. We might see some challenges across that day, but we'll play it like rain or adverse weather. What we've seen is about one day in ten is proving a challenge, we hope it won't come during the Test but we also understand that it might.
"We have concerns when the smoke is around because it is a challenge on those two metrics: visibility and breathing."
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Fox Cricket commentator Mark Howard described the chaotic situation on Saturday when the Big Bash game was called off.
"You can smell the smoke in the commentary box," said Howard.
"Frightening what people are going through in this part of the world."
Umpire Paul Wilson spoke to Fox Cricket after the players were escorted from the field.
"It's about air quality. We would not have started like this."
Thunder coach Shane Bond told The Daily Telegraph the umpires made the right decision to call off the game.
"The air quality was poor, clearly, and there were people who went down in the stands, so we were prepared," Bond said.
"We'd worked bloody hard, we were probably going to get a win so there's the emotion of it.
"You have to stop to take a breath and say 'look, losing a point is not the same as losing your house', so there's some perspective there and there's people doing it really tough."
Adelaide coach Jason Gillespie agreed with Bond's assessment of the unusual circumstances.
"At the end of the day it's the players' safety we have to take into account. It's pretty unprecedented, and it's not just the players and the umpires and the like but we've got a lot of spectators in here as well.
"It' is a bit unprecedented but these are the playing conditions that are in place and the umpires are just applying that.
"Being able to see the ball is pretty fundamental in our sport but also I think the respiratory situation is something that needs to be considered."
This isn't the first domestic Australian cricket match to be affected by the bushfires currently ravaging the country's hinterland.
Two weeks ago a Sheffield Shield clash between NSW and Queensland at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground was completed in testing conditions that saw cricket blogger Rick Eyre liken the scenes to "the apocalypse", while Cricinfo writer Dan Brettig urged authorities to call the game off.
- With news.com.au