SL savours final entry
Sri Lanka's national press showed rare unity Wednesday in hailing the national team's qualification for the World Cup final after beating New Zealand in a tense last-four encounter.
"Sri Lanka in ICC final again," said Colombo's Daily Mirror in a front page splash.
The same theme was repeated in the main Sinhala, Tamil and English language national dailies.
"Lankans stuff the Kiwis to enter finals," said the Daily News.
Despite making the final, the Mirror doubted whether or not the home team would be able to defeat either India or Pakistan, who were playing later Wednesday, in the title match in Mumbai on Saturday.
The Mirror said a quick fall of Sri Lankan wickets on Tuesday had raised fears that New Zealand could stage a spectacular upset.
Sri Lanka batting "raised questions about their ability to provide a genuine challenge to Pakistan or India in the final in Mumbai on Saturday," the Mirror said.
Sri Lanka has not played India in the ongoing World Cup, but lost to Pakistan by 11 runs in a group game.
The press paid tribute to Muttiah Muralidaran, the star spinner, who played his last home game before retirement. His final lap of honour around the Premadasa Stadium after the semifinal win also made it to the front pages.
The local media complained of a huge black market for tickets.
As the game progressed Tuesday, a 300 rupee (3 dollar) ticket was going for 10 times its value, the Lakbima newspaper said while warning readers not to fall victim for ticket scams for the finals.