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Sri Lanka cricket fans: wake up and suddenly, you’re in love…..again!

No one would have faulted you if you just gave up and went away after that heartbreaking England tour. You wouldn’t have been alone if you thought Sri Lanka winning again is just another fairytale. Sri Lanka barely batted a session. Barely scored a century, even with all 11 individual scores put together. They blew hot and cold on the field. When cold, it was freezing cold. Their fast bowlers were running out of gas faster than they were running in to bowl. Their inability to even compete in England was fueling the argument for two-tier Tests. 
 
Sri Lanka had not won a Test series against a top 5 team since Mahela Jayawardena’s farewell win against Pakistan in 2014.  Since then, they have lost two away series to New Zealand, once to India and Pakistan at home and only a West Indies visit in 2015 provided some relief.
 
Yes, it has been total hopelessness. You had lost that lovin feelin. …………..Until……………Until that first Test hundred. Until that first Sri Lankan Chinaman. Until that fastest to 50 wickets in Sri Lanka’s Test history. Until that ageless hero turned things around for his team, again.
 
Suddenly, there is a young batsman in Mendis, who bats with the same positive attitude and confidence perhaps previously only seen in the great Aravinda. Suddenly, in Sandakan, there is someone who bowls like no other had ever done for Sri Lanka. Suddenly, Dilruwan Perera is a hero and gets the attention and recognition he fully deserves. Suddenly, Rangana Herath has help. Suddenly, cricket is well and alive in Sri Lanka.
 
True, Australians are the worst top team against spin and came into the series with six consecutive losses in the subcontinent. True, these are home conditions and Sri Lanka prepared wickets to ensure they’d not miss any of their injured fast bowlers. True, even while winning, serious batting flaws have been exposed.
 
However, none of these should take away anything from Sri Lanka’s glorious return to winning. Australia after all are the number one side. Maximizing the home advantage is something all countries do and there is no shame in that. Sri Lanka did not minimize Australia’s fast bowling advantage any less than England did Sri Lanka’s spinning advantage. The young Sri Lankan team did remarkably well to leave behind the bitter scares from England and quickly turn things around by playing hard, positive and brilliant cricket! They played with passion, pride and brought back that lovin feelin.  
 
True, there will still be many ups and downs along the way as this young team grows. Those concerns can be addressed another day. Today should be all about celebrating this great win. It has been an exciting couple of weeks to be a Sri Lankan cricket fan. If you had just given up after England, wake up and suddenly, you’re in love!  
 

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