24 July, 2021

The Emerald Ecstasy

Cricketers bring cheer to strife-torn Sri Lanka

The Emerald Ecstasy

The afternoon is really bad for Sri Lanka, but after 8.18 pm things will improve," my friend who dabbles in astrology predicted before Sri Lanka's semi-final fixture against India in Calcutta on March 13. As the match started, the roads emptied, office workers forgot work and the whole nation was glued to TV sets or radios as even non-cricket lovers crossed their fingers that nothing would stop the Lankans from entering the finals.

Hope and expectation turned to nervousness as the Lankans—who are better at chasing than setting a total—lost the toss and were put in to bat. "It looked like we lost half the match when we lost the toss and were put into bat," says Baudula Warnapura, Sri Lanka's first Test captain. Then ervousness turned to sheer horror when the two free-scoring openers were out in the first four balls. And the island practically held its breath as the batting line-up sank to 35 for 3. "I almost died," recalls Shirasthi Abeysekara, a law student at Colombo University. Adds Dion Schoor man, Colombo manager for Reuters News Agency and an avid cricket...

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