Once feared and admired, Sri Lanka are now a pale of shadow of their former selves

The beauty of watching Sri Lanka at their peak was a joy forever. As though reading a fairy tale, characters with sing-song names swung back and forth in the mind-scape, as if they were magical creations, wandering in a state of half-truth and half-fiction.

The cricketers were informal and unpretentious. Who else would be bargaining with a carpet-seller on the streets of Lahore a day before the 1996 World Cup final, the most important day of their sporting lives? Where else would a cricketer (Rangana Herath) walk into the bank he works a day after picking his 400th Test wicket?

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