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Cricket Continues Despite Chaos in Sri Lanka

By: Ray Zhao

Despite ongoing chaos, the people of Sri Lanka continue to enjoy an ancient tradition: playing cricket. And, to the delight of many millions, Sri Lanka’s cricket team has been winning, as the national team recently defeated Bangladesh and Australia, one of the world’s top teams in cricket.

Cricket was bought to South Asia by British colonial authorities. Because it is the only sport south Asian countries regularly excel at, it has become increasingly popular in past decades.

The sport has endured many severe crises, like Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war. It also was the subject of an ambush on a trip to Pakistan in 2009. “Even when something goes really wrong, they will always try to find joy and happiness in sport,” said Mr. Mukherjee, a cricket writer.

The victory over Bangladesh was a testament to this. The five-day match, held in the Sri Lankan city of Galle, was symbolic because “on the second day [of the match], demonstrators surrounded the stadium while their compatriots in Colombo overran the president’s home, forcing him into hiding,” according to the New York Times’s Mike Ives.

The public response to cricket matches in recent weeks has been unusually vivid because some people see the cricket matches as a distraction from the hardships Sri Lankans face, like food, fuel, and energy shortages.

Some famous cricketers support the protests. Not only have cricket team members attended protests and rallied social media support to help the protesters’ cause, but Cricket Captains have also helped. Captain Dimuth Karunarathna recently dedicated the victory over Bangladesh to those back in Sri Lanka, hoping “this win brings some joy to their faces.”

Mr. Siddhique, a cricket fan, said that protests against Sri Lanka’s new government will inevitably continue. He also said another big cricket win will “be a huge, huge inspiration.”

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