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Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today said the popular game of cricket will help the country build its national identity as one nation. Wickremesinghe was speaking at a reception at his official residence to felicitate Angelo Matthews and his boys for registering the first-ever 3-0 Test series whitewash against Australia. "Angelo Mathews' team reflects the national unity.
When cricket is played the whole Sri Lanka gets behind them," Wickremesinghe said. Mathews - a non-Buddhist - provides a rare instance in Sri Lankan cricket of someone outside the country's majority Sinhala community leading the national side. Mathews' team beat Australia in the Test series for the first time since the two teams began playing Test in 1983. Wickremesinghe pledged his government's "full support" to Sri Lanka Cricket administration to achieve the aim of winning the 2019 World Cup. The Sri Lankan premier, speaking in parliament recently, had said his government's action to rid the country's cricket administration of corruption elements has led the path to the team's success. The new government early this year held fresh elections to the SLC after it faced many allegations of mismanagement under the previous government of then-president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Wickremesinghe appointed a probe committee to investigate cricket board's affairs while appointing an interim committee which led the way to the election which brought in the current Thilnga Sumathipala administration.
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