Sri Lanka's skipper Mahela Jayawardene returned home expressing disappointment over his team's failure to secure the cricket World Cup, but said they lost to a better Australian team.
Cricket fans lined up along the team's route from the international airport despite heavy rains which lashed the city, after the World Cup runners-up landed after their eight-week Caribbean campaign.
"We ended up short after putting up a determined effort, the outcome is obviously disappointing," the Sri Lankan captain said. "Australians were faster off the blocks than us."
Sri Lanka, a pre-tournament favourite, was pipped at the post by Ricky Ponting's marauding Australian team who had carried all before them in the run up to the final.
Jayawardene looking back on the final said, "Our bowlers couldn't get any movement, but that was more due to the conditions than anything to do with the ability of Vaas, Malinga and Dilhara."
A brilliant Adam Gilchrist hit a swashbuckling 149 off just 129 balls with eight sixes and, with Matthew Hayden, put on 172 for the first wicket in 22 of the 38-over Australian innings.
"We were looking for early wickets which was not to be. That set us back," Jayawardene said adding that all Sri Lankan plans in the tournament until then had fallen into place.
"We had given different players different roles and everyone played their part very well," Jayawardene said, summing up Sri Lanka's run up to the final.
He dismissed the notion that losing the toss to Ponting in the final was a major setback. "We did not care about the toss, throughout the tournament our focus was on winning the game irrespective of what happened at the toss."
The Sri Lankan captain said the team was determined to achieve the daunting run rate of more than seven runs an over when they were chasing the mammoth Australian total of 281.
"We were going well when rain and the darkness fell around us," he said. He was aware that umpires Bucknor and Dar had erred when they told Ricky Ponting that the game will be carried over to Sunday's reserve day when the game was halted due to bad light.
"We knew we lost the world cup the moment our batsmen accepted bad light because we had completed 20 overs by then," he said.