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Sri Lankan crowds back Pakistan in crucial game

COLOMBO, March 20: The scintillating encounter between Pakistan and Australia, besides being a top-ranked affair in their respective countries, also enthralled the local population of the Sri Lankans here on Saturday as they extended whole hearted support to Shahid Afridi’s team.

With a massive turn out of spectators, who came in droves to fill the stadium to capacity, lustily cheered the feats of Pakistan players at various stages of the game. A good number of Pakistani fans who had arrived in Colombo to watch the proceedings were also part of the jubilant crowd.

Highlighting the thunderous applause for the Pakistan team from the local population, the Sri Lankan commentrators said the enthusiastic support was no strange phenomenon to this part of the world. Giving their views and analysis in local languages, the commentrators traced the history and recalled the support of Pakistan’s cricket establishments at different stages for advocating the case of Sri Lanka at the international cricket forums.

“Pakistan bailed out Sri Lanka by touring the Island in turbulent times when most of the foreign teams had declined visits on account of prevailing insurgency in the country. Sri Lanka also repaid the goodwill by touring Pakistan when most teams had cancelled tours due to security concerns.”

Pakistani flags and banners in all sizes were being sold outside the Premadsa Stadium while camouflage face painting in green and white colours depicting Pakistan flag were also available. At the authorised outlets of World Cup cricket merchandise, Pakistan-related cricket souviners and memorabilia’s were also put on sale.