Sri Lanka's defeated cricket team returned home Sunday to calls from the state-run media demanding a probe into "blunders right from the start".
"Who picked the final XI of the Sri Lanka team for the World Cup final against India?" the Sunday Observer
questioned the dropping of spinner Ajantha Mendis in favour of Suraj Randiv who failed to impress after only joining the squad as an injury replacement on Friday.
The Observer also questioned the wisdom of playing an injured Muttiah Muralitharan, the ace spinner, who was retiring after Saturday's game.
"Was it advisable playing a half-fit Muralitharan?" the state-run paper said.
"Winning the mega-final is much more important than giving a farewell tribute to even a great cricketer of Muralitharan's magnitude."
Religious leaders who welcomed Kumar Sangakkara's team at the Bandaranaike International airport said they were disappointed with the loss, but urged dejected cricket lovers to spare the national team.
Sangakkara defended the team selection and said he had fielded the best possible players and insisted they had "played well".
"The changes we made were good," Sangakkara told reporters at the airport. "Unfortunately, we did not do well enough in bowling and fielding."
"We were unable to maintain pressure on India after their first two wickets," the skipper said. "India played very well and that is why we lost."
Local cricket commentator Hemantha Devapriya blamed the defeat on bad fielding.
"Sri Lanka lost because of poor fielding," Devapriya said on Sri Lanka's national television.
Another sports analyst, Palitha Perera, consoled the deflated Sri Lankans saying that the World Cup still remained in Asia.
"We must be happy that the World Cup was lifted by a fellow South Asian nation," Perera said. "We have only another four years to wait."
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