Sri Lanka’s ‘cricket truce’, sports and sportsmen at war

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, April 26, 2007 (AFP) – Sport is war minus shooting, said George Orwell and Sri Lanka’s cricketers are doing their part in keeping the guns silent.

Cricket is such an obsession in the strife-torn nation that the team’s progress to the World Cup final in the Caribbean has produced a temporary peace dividend 15,000km away at home.

On Tuesday, Tamil Tiger rebels and government soldiers held a truce as their national side reached the final by beating New Zealand by 81 runs in Jamaica.

But five hours after the match, it was bloodshed as usual as two policemen were killed in a roadside bomb attack in Ampara in the east of the island.

Police and military officials said there were no clashes reported during the live broadcast of the match.

A military source said instructions had gone out to troops and police to maintain a high alert, although the Tigers had announced that they would cease action during the match.

“There were specific instructions to maintain a high alert and ensure that men who were on duty remained in their posts and did not scoot off to watch the match,” the source said.

The Tigers had said earlier ther