Lankan media gives mixed reaction to World Cup loss to India

Sri Lankan media gave mixed reaction to the country`s defeat at the hands of India in the cricket World Cup final.

Colombo: Sri Lankan media on Sunday gave mixed
reaction to the country`s defeat at the hands of India in the
cricket World Cup final, with one newspaper scathing in its
criticism of the team`s selectors while another said Indians
deserved the coveted trophy.

"Dhoni heroics make India world champs", read the
headline of the state-owned `Sunday Observer` newspaper.

Commenting on "selection blunders", it asked "who picked
the final XI?"

"It shocked everyone when Suraj Randiv was included at
the expense of Ajantha Mendis," the paper said.

It was wrong to have played a half-fit Muralitharan,
however much a great bowler he was, the paper said.

"Winning the mega final was much more important than
giving a farewell tribute to even a great cricketer of
Muralitaharan`s magnitude," it said.

Commenting on the team`s six-wicket loss to the Dhoni
brigade at Mumbai`s Wankhede stadium last night, the
independent `Sunday Times` newspaper said in its editorial
that "crestfallen and sorely disappointed, most Sri Lankans
would wake up today trying to reconcile with the fact that the
national team emerged second best."

While opining that Sri Lanka had an easier passage to the
finals than India, it said "India are the deserved winners, to
them go the fruits of victory and all the accolades with it".

There was no disgrace in the defeat. "They lost last
night to the top ranked cricketing nation before a hugely
partisan and frenzied crowd, and away from home, and there is
no dishonour in losing," the paper said.

However, it called for a probe of the defeat. "The time
is now opportune to venture into an assessment of sports
administration in Sri Lanka."

It argued that "cricket has been run by successive
interim committees, most reeking with corruption, nepotism and
political interference and mismanagement".

The `Sunday Observer` said the cup was so much near yet
so far for Sri Lanka which emerged runner-up for the second
time in a row.

Though it described Sri Lanka`s 274 for 6 in 50 overs as
a challenging total and hailed Vice Captain Mahela Jayawardene
for his blistering century, the paper said Gautam Gambhir`s
brave 97 runs resurrected the Indian innings following which
it was too late for Sri Lanka to bounce back.

Most papers had page one pictures of Jayawardene who made
a century, the only redeeming feature for the Sri Lankans in
the cup final.

`Lakbima News` carried on the front page the picture of
Thilakaratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga celebrating the
dismissal of Virender Sehwag, captioned `Done Half the Job`.

Its main sports page caption was `Cricket`s Holy Grail
with India for the Second Time`, while the `Sunday Times`
headline was `India Wins World Cup for Second Time`.

`India World Champs, SL Loses World Cup Final despite
Mahela 100`, read the headline of the `Sunday Island`, while
`The Nation on Sunday` wrote `Lost but not shamed`.