When the day started, Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium was a delight. A cozy venue nestled in foliage, the music, the dancing, the smell of fresh hot dogs in the air … it was perfect for Sri Lanka’s opening One-Day International against India on Sunday (August 20).
No one could have imagined at the time that these scenes would change dramatically over the course of the next six hours.
Even as the game went on, the tension between four female fans from India and a particularly boisterous bunch of Sri Lankan supporters grew steadily. Each time the Indian fans cheered for their men in blue, the Sri Lankan supporters came up with a reply of their own. But what started as friendly fire caught heat in no time as the girls responded to the barrage of verbal volleys.
By the time the second innings got underway, some of the Sri Lankan supporters had started heckling the tourists and it reached a point where police had to intervene to put an end to the drama. The girls went back to cheering their team, and the boys presented them with a fine win in return
Sri Lanka’s supporters, as expected, weren’t too happy with the nine-wicket humiliation and wanted to let the team know just how they felt afterwards – the girls were safe after the crowd found a new distraction.
Fans of the Sri Lankan team lined up in front of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) office and made their frustration known. They shouted at the team bus even before the players had boarded it and chanted the name of Thilanga Sumathipala, the SLC boss, a few times during the chaos.
While the ruckus ensued, Sumathipala sat in the president’s box at the stadium staring at the now-empty chairs, probably wondering how Sri Lanka had dipped to the lows they had.
While Sumathipala wondered about the situation, voices around the bus reached maximum pitch before the police force, not at its proactive best on the day, chased the gathering away with batons and riot shields. The Sri Lankan team bus eventually left the venue without further drama.