NEW DELHI  - Indian badminton star Saina Nehwal’s Olympic bronze medal overshadowed the high-profile cricket team’s one-day series win against Sri Lanka in the media on Sunday.

The 4-1 success by Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men, which lifted the world champions to number two in the rankings behind Australia, would normally have attracted front-page coverage in the cricket-obsessed media.

But the victory was relegated to the inside pages as Nehwal stole the limelight on becoming only the second Indian woman after weightlifter Karnam Malleswari to win an Olympic medal. It did not matter that Nehwal, 22, was fortunate to win the bronze when her Chinese rival Wang Xin, who was leading 21-18, 1-0, pulled out with a leg injury. “China’s groans, Saina’s bronze,” declared the Hindustan Times on its front page, adding that “it wasn’t just luck that got India its third medal”. Wang fell and injured herself, the paper said, because the “scampering around that forced the fall was on account of the incessant pressure the Indian had built up”.

“Lucky bronze for plucky Saina,” said the Times of India, adding that the Indian’s superior fitness paid off in the end.

While the cricketers celebrated the series win, team-mates Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh, who were not part of the squad in Sri Lanka, posted congratulatory tweets for Nehwal.

“Terrific performance by Saina,” Tendulkar tweeted. “To become only the second woman to win an Olympic medal for India is awesome. Congrats to (coach) Gopichand as well.”

“Saina, you beauty,” wrote Yuvraj, the hero of India’s World Cup win last year who is training to regain full fitness after a lung tumour. “I’m sure like me every Indian is proud of you.”

Nehwal’s bronze followed the silver by pistol shooter Vijay Kumar and bronze by rifle marksman Gagan Narang and kept India in the hunt for its best ever Olympic medal haul.

India had their best finish in Beijing in 2008 when wrestler Sushil Kumar and boxer Vijender Singh added bronze medals to shooter Abhinav Bindra’s gold, the first individual Olympic title by an Indian.

While Bindra failed to make the finals this time, Kumar’s events have yet to start and Vijender and fellow-boxer Devendro Singh are one win away from securing bronze medals.

Medal hopes also rest on five-time world champion Mary Kom as women’s boxing makes its Olympic debut later on Sunday.

India are out of contention in field hockey, where they won the last of their eight Olympic golds in 1980, after losing the first three preliminary matches.