Sri Lanka fans hold up team bus to express displeasure

The fan demonstration - shouting slogans and hooting - delayed the Sri Lankan team's departure by close to half an hour after their drubbing in the opening ODI

Sri Lankan Special Task Force soldiers guard the Sri Lankan team bus  •  Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/ AFP

Sri Lankan Special Task Force soldiers guard the Sri Lankan team bus  •  Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/ AFP

A section of Sri Lanka spectators held up the team bus and voiced raucous displeasure at the performance of players and administration following the nine-wicket loss against India in Dambulla.
A group of about 50 fans had stood in the vicinity of Sri Lanka's parked bus, hooting and shouting slogans such as "we want our cricket back" and "no politics in cricket", until police stepped in and cleared the gathering. The incident had delayed Sri Lanka's departure from the venue by close to half an hour.
The fan demonstration follows months of increasing dissatisfaction with on-field results. Social media has been aflame with scathing satire, taking aim at selectors and administrators in addition to players, in a year in which Sri Lanka has slipped to several unprecedented losses.
Aware of the rapidly declining popularity of the national team, present and past players have implored fans to support the side through the slump. Ahead of the series, ODI captain Upul Tharanga made an impassioned plea to fans in a board release, stating: "The support of our fans plays a big role in the morale of the team. We play for our country and our goal is to bring pride to our family of 20 million in this nation - so your support is something that matters greatly to us ... trust in us, and stick with us, so that you can be our strength as we rise again like lions."
Though presently playing at the CPL, Kumar Sangakkara has also taken to social media to voice his own appeal to fans. "When we won, you celebrated with us, and when we lost, you grieved alongside us," he said. "When the team was struggling - when we were most in need - your love and support was our strength. Now, what our cricketers need is that same, love, support, patience and effort. Let's hope for the team's victory, and support them as one."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando