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Cricket World Cup: Indian and Sri Lankan media reaction

Sachin Tendulkar
Tendulkar holds the World Cup trophy aloft outside the Taj hotel in Mumbai

India's newspapers delighted in the national team's victory over Sri Lanka in the World Cup final on Saturday, heaping praise on their players.

"Windia!" screamed the Indian Express, while the Mail Today ran the headline "Cup of Joy" over a picture of the team being soaked in champagne.

The Times of India said the players had "the World at their Feet."

The Hindustan Times covered its front page with a photo of the joyous players beside a banner stating "Champions".

India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in Mumbai, becoming the first team to win the World Cup on home soil after chasing down the highest-ever total in a final.

It was the cricket-mad nation's first World Cup victory since 1983.

India batsman Sachin Tendulkar

World Cup win 'proudest moment' - Tendulkar

"Men who make history defy all the odds," the Hindustan Times said. The win was "a resounding announcement of India's official coronation as the world's best team."

India president Pratibha Patil also praised the team, saying it "deserved the thanks of a billion plus Indians."

Several papers reserved the highest praise for Dhoni, who clinched the win with a massive six into the stands to finish 91 not out.

"Hail Mahendra Singh Dhoni," said the Mail Today. "On a night when the heat inside the Wankhede Stadium could have left you breathless, the inspirational leader showed what it is to lead from the front."

I hope to be of service to my team as long as I can, but I won't be able to play in the next World Cup in 2015

Lasith Malinga

There were also plenty of column inches dedicated to Sachin Tendulkar, the legendary India batsman who finally crowned his career with World cup success at the sixth attempt.

Tendulkar, who only scored 18 runs with the bat, shed tears of joy after the victory was sealed in his home city.

"For very long, cricket has been synonymous with Tendulkar all over India," said the Indian Express. "But home is where the heart lies, and no other ground in India, or the world, could have provided a more emotional platform for the batting maestro."

Not surprisingly, Sri Lankan press reaction struck a different chord, with several papers questioning the wisdom of making four changes for the final, only one of which was enforced by injury.

"Who picked the final XI of the Sri Lanka team for the World Cup final against India?" the state-run Sunday Observer asked.

It questioned the wisdom of dropping Ajantha Mendis in favour of fellow off-spinner Suraj Randiv, who had only joined the squad the previous day as an injury replacement, and playing veteran Muttiah Muralitharan, who had been struggling throughout the tournament with injuries.

Sri Lanka cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara

Sangakkara gracious in defeat

Muralitharan went wicketless in his final international match, while the other bowlers drafted in - Randiv and seamers Thisara Perera and Nuwan Kulasekara - managed only one wicket between them from 26.2 overs.

"Was it advisable playing a half-fit Muralitharan?" the Observer added. "Winning the mega final is much more important than giving a farewell tribute to even a great cricketer of Muralitharan's magnitude."

The privately-run Sunday Times of Colombo said the World Cup loss should prompt a clean-up of the game's administration in Sri Lanka.

"Cricket has been run by successive interim committees, most reeking with corruption, nepotism, political interference and mismanagement," it wrote.

The Nation was more sympathetic towards the players, running with the front-page headline "Lost, but not shamed!"

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga told state-run television that his World Cup career is over.

The 27-year-old, who removed both India openers cheaply to give Sri Lanka hope, said: "I hope to be of service to my team as long as I can, but I won't be able to play in the next World Cup in 2015.

"I have been carrying injuries for the past few weeks and with little rest. I ask the youngsters to play well in the next World Cup."

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see also
India power to World Cup triumph
02 Apr 11 |  Cricket
Indians dedicate win to Tendulkar
02 Apr 11 |  Cricket
Agnew on the World Cup
03 Apr 11 |  Cricket
Dilshan's World Cup column
03 Apr 11 |  Sri Lanka
Kirsten mulls over S Africa role
03 Apr 11 |  Cricket
Sangakkara gracious in defeat
02 Apr 11 |  Cricket
India v Sri Lanka as it happened
02 Apr 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup final in photos
02 Apr 11 |  Cricket
Joy and desolation after cricket final
02 Apr 11 |  South Asia
World Cup: Team of the tournament
01 Apr 11 |  Cricket
Myth or man?
01 Apr 11 |  India
Sri Lanka edge NZ to reach final
29 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket

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