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Just another day in the office for SL

Minutes after acknowledging the home crowd, the Sri Lankan team gave a feel that this was just another victory - another day in office. Amol Karhadkar reports.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2011 01:51 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Those who watched the Sri Lanka team run a victory lap after completing a jittery win over New Zealand in the semifinal on Tuesday would have anticipated joyous celebrations in the dressing room and the team hotel.

However, minutes after acknowledging the home crowd, the team gave a feel that this was just another victory - another day in office. A cake was cut, a few beer cans were opened but no wild celebrations as the players packed up and left for the team hotel.

By the time Kumar Sangakkara returned from one of the lengthiest post-match media interactions, the team had boarded the bus and a downpour had dispersed most of the fans.

The atmosphere at the team hotel wasn't any different as, after acknowledging a few fans, the players slipped into their respective rooms to take a power nap. After all, they had to take an early-morning flight to Mumbai for the final.

Not that the team did not value its second successive World Cup final berth, but the sombre celebrations were an indication that their mission was not yet complete. They have one more match to win at the Wankhede on Saturday.

Despite making it to the semis in the last two editions, they could not go the distance on both occasions. While they faltered in the semis in 2003, they finish second best to Australia in the 2007 final.

With the islanders being the only side to have won the tournament while co-hosting it, Sangakkara and Co are expecting to do a 1996 encore. The team is now drawing inspiration from the golden moment of Sri Lanka cricket.

"We missed a great opportunity in 2007. Our aim is to recreate the opportunities (of 1996) in 2011. Had we not won in 1996, we wouldn't have come to this level. We must thank players like Murali, Vaasy (Chaminda Vaas), Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga," Sangakkara said.

"From that winning side, only one member is with us and that is Murali. The kind of input he has given us we cannot even measure. He has played a big part in our cricket. The entire country looks up to him for inspiration."