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Sweet revenge as Lanka IX beat India XI
Delight island in despair sea

A corner of Calcutta erupted in joy on Sunday evening when Thisara Perera hammered the last nail in.

It was a mini Sri Lanka where nine young men and women had shouted themselves hoarse by then.

“We can go around as lions on the campus tomorrow,” exclaimed Kasun Jayawardene.

Kasun and eight Sri Lankan friends had been huddled in a small room in the Rabindra Bharati guesthouse on the BT Road campus because the television in the union room had been taken over by the larger Indian contingent.

The nine friends, students of music and dance or art, worship Tagore but the battlelines were drawn on Sunday night.

“Sri Lanka is known to the world for its cricket. And we can hold our heads high now,” said Shrinivaythaa Ravindran.

Kasun was updating his Facebook status as his friend spoke. It read: “Congratulations, my Mother Sri Lanka. Yes, we are proud as one.”

“(Kumar) Sangakkara showed what a superstar he is,” said Kasun, who hails from Kandy.

Victory was made sweeter because the wait had been long.“In four World Cups, we saw Sri Lanka reach the final and then lose it. This time, we have turned the record around. Tomorrow is ours,” said Tharindu Ramanayaka.

The mood in the 15ftx15ft room had been upbeat from the start, contrasting with the disappointment in the union common room when Ajinkya Rahane’s jittery start put the pressure on India.

Then came heartburn as Virat Kohli broke loose, only for the enthusiasm to return when Yuvraj Singh struggled to score.

There was even a moment of irony when the Indian camp seemed to rejoice in Yuvraj’s dismissal and the Lankans were sad that he did not stay longer!

At the break between innings, the commentators were the butt of jokes. “They had predicted 165. India have only 130,” said Iresha Themvwara.

But Mahela Jayawardene’s wicket (65 for 3 in the 10th over) and the web of spin did create moments of doubt.

Chants of “Go Lanka Go” and “What’s the colour? Blue and gold!” appeared to go soft when Amit Mishra came to bowl the 15th. A six from Perera followed by a four stroked by Sangakkara raised the decibel level again. “We are back in the game!” yelled Shrinivaythaa.

There was no stopping them after that as they counted down the target. “Winning the toss gave us the right start,” said Madhusha Jaysingha, a third-year student of art.

“Sweet revenge!” said Shrinivaythaa, referring to the defeat in the 2011 (50-over) World Cup final. “That six of Dhoni was like a stab. I can still feel the pain,” said Kasun.

Sunday’s was just the balm he needed to put on that wound.