For The Love of Cricket: Sri Lanka v South Africa, 2nd Test
There are days that we don’t feel like writing about travel. Those days are high in numbers that we can’t quite count. There are days we feel like writing about cricket. Today is one such day. Maybe…maybe because we sat below the players’ dressing room one full day to watch two teams fight it out at the middle. Except that they didn’t quite fight, or did their best. Maybe, it’s because I, Zin, was told that I might be one of the few – ten, to be exact – people to actually like Anamul Haque, a completely useless Bangladeshi opener. Don’t judge! Maybe, maybe, it is because Nathan actually played cricket for a few clubs in downtown Sydney.
Yesterday was a typical Colombo day. We sat below a group of Saffa (South African) fans who were extremely chatty despite their team’s abysmal performance. In other words, off-season, a phrase the great South African AB de Villiers used to describe India’s recurrent tournaments with Sri Lanka, which quite frankly, is the truth, but was unsurprisingly misinterpreted by the ‘patriotic’ Sri Lankan fan. Including me, Zinara, except that I’m rarely patriotic.
In Sri Lanka, in a cricket ground so smaller than Sooriyawewa, country’s recent glorious contribution to the game, there’s someone who can tremble seas of people with his words. No, it’s not Kumar Sangakkara. It’s Percy Abeysekara. The man’s got more fans than Danushka Gunathilaka. (Danushaka, who?) Including Nathan’s dad. And Nathan. So when he appeared with his Sri Lankan flag, Nathan didn’t think twice to run after him to get a selfie.
Maybe the best thing about watching a cricket match is not actually the cricket. It’s the atmosphere. It’s those fans who shared their contacts with you so you could send them the photos you took of them. Maybe, it’s the little kid with his wavy hair who fought with his elder brother for the Lankan flag. Little he knew that the flag was taller, bigger than him. Maybe it’s the chatty, little fella who sat on the fence with his colourful Lankan flag and danced to every tune in the ground. Or the Saffas behind us who purposely photobombed us.
You rarely watch cricket in a cricket ground. Instead, it’s your day to drink a few cups of iced tea. Maybe a beer, or a few and go “ooooohhhh” at every delivery a Lankan bowls and despairingly sigh at Dilruwan Perera’s no balls.
The year was 2015, in Pallekele, where I wretchedly sat with my camera when Pakistan were 13-2, and when finally both Younis Khan and Shan Masood made hundreds, I was hesitant to celebrate their centuries. I was hesitant to be a Pakistani fan in front of a group of Sri Lankans. The year is 2018. I’m no longer a fan of anyone. Neither is Nathan.
Yet, there’s one thing I learnt yesterday.
The colour of the Sri Lankan flag – which once foreseeably served to heighten the ethnic anxieties between the Sinhalese and Tamils, two groups I and Nathan respectively hail from – seemed so remarkably vibrant to me than ever before.
PS: If you happen to be in Sri Lanka during a cricket series, don’t miss this amazing opportunity to watch a game of cricket. It’s a lot of fun and an interesting way to witness the enthusiasm of Sri Lankan cricket fans.
More pictures from the cricket here >>>>