Cricket: Sri Lanka brace for biggest party after war

COLOMBO, April 7, 2014 (AFP) – Sri Lanka was preparing to throw its biggest party since the end of the country’s ethnic war Monday after beating India in the final of cricket’s World T20 tournament.

Government officials said that arrangements were being made to fly the team home early from Bangladesh to attend a ticker-tape parade in central Colombo after an outpouring of jubilation in a country that has been at war for much of its post-independence history.

The victory on Sunday night in Dhaka came 18 years after Sri Lanka’s triumph in the 50-over World Cup, which had been followed by a series of defeats in the finals of major tournaments.

Newspapers hailed the victory as a “fitting farewell” to a golden generation, including former skippers Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara who have already announced their retirement from T20 cricket.

Pundits also joked that the victory was only made possible by President Mahinda Rajapakse’s decision to stay away from the final after he had apparently “jinxed” the team in previous tournaments.

The Sri Lankan cricket board has asked fans to line the 35-kilometre (21 mile) highway that stretches from the international airport to downtown Colo