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Sri Lankans 'safe and out of danger' after Pakistan terror attack

Sri Lanka's cricketers have said that they are still shocked after five players were injured when the team bus was attacked by gunmen in Pakistan

 

Thilan Samaraweera, Ajantha Mendis, Tharanga Paranavitana, Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Thushara were injured after gunmen opened fire on the bus heading to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore ahead of the third day of the second Test against Pakistan.

Five policemen were also killed when the team bus was fired upon by unidentified masked gunmen.

Speaking to Cricinfo captain Mahela Jayawardene said: "The bus came under attack as we were driving to the stadium, the gunmen targeted the wheels of the bus first and then the bus.

"We all dived to the floor to take cover. About five players have been injured and also Paul Farbrace [a member of the support staff], but most of the injuries appear to be minor at this stage and caused by debris."

Sri Lanka vice captain Sangakkara, one of five players who received shrapnel wounds, confirmed he and his team-mates were "safe and out of danger".

Sangakkara told CNN-IBN: "There are a few injuries but everyone is safe and all the players are out of danger.

"We are shocked, but apart from that everyone is okay. Thilan (Samaraweera) has a shrapnel wound in his leg, but he is fine.

"(Tharanga) Paranavitana had shrapnel in his chest, but thank God it wasn't very deep and just on the surface.

"I had shrapnel injuries in my shoulder, but they have all been removed and I'm okay now.

"Ajantha (Mendis) had shrapnel in his neck and scalp, but he too has had medical attention and is fine. Everyone else is perfectly all right.

"It's very unfortunate that this has happened.

"Everything had gone on very well until this morning, but it just goes to show that nothing is as it seems.

"I don't regret coming here to play cricket because that's what we have been doing all our lives. That is our profession.

"But I regret this incident, what has happened and the situation that we have had to go through.

"All we want to do now is to go back home to our families, get back home and be safe."

The International Cricket Council (ICC) expressed its sadness after the attack.

"We note with dismay and regret the events of this morning in Lahore and we condemn this attack without reservation," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.

"It is a source of great sadness that there have been a number of fatalities in this attack and it is also very upsetting for the wider cricket family that some of the Sri Lanka players and one match official have been injured in this attack.

"At this time our thoughts and prayers are with the injured people and also the families of those who have died."

Sri Lanka team manager Brendon Kuruppu insisted officials had been right to take the team to Pakistan.

"I don't think it was a mistake to come to Pakistan in the first place," he said on CNN-IBN.

"The Pakistan Cricket Board has given us all assurances that everything would be fine.

"We are lucky that none of the players were injured critically.

"It is a very sad situation, but we would have to take this incident into consideration when we plan future tours to this country."

Pakistan's one-day series with Australia will be played in United Arab Emirates because of the tourists' safety fears.

Pakistan are also co-hosts of the 2011 World Cup, with one semi-final pencilled in for the Gaddafi Stadium.

Punjab Governor Salmaan Tahseer told CNN-IBN: "The team is shaken, but I can confirm that there are no serious injuries to the players. None of them are critical.

"This was an organised attack. They were terrorists. They used sophisticated weapons. Five Pakistani policemen have been killed.

"Obviously the tour has been cancelled. We have arranged for the Sri Lankan players to be taken out to the airport and they will fly out of the country this afternoon."

Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya told CNN-IBN: "I just spoke to Kumar (Sangakkara) and the good news is everybody is safe and okay at the moment.

"Mahela Jayawardene was also injured, but they are all safe at the moment.

"When we played three one-day games there we had no problems. That is why the team went back to Pakistan again for the Test series.

"We had a good game in Karachi and then they went to Lahore where this unfortunate incident has happened.

"These are things you cannot control and the players are shocked at the moment.

"This is obviously something they haven't gone through before as a cricket team. I feel for them. It's a terrible time.

"I can't say at the moment what impact this would have on Pakistan cricket, but the priority at the moment is to see that the Sri Lankan players are safe."

Former England cricketer Dominic Cork, who had been doing commentary work for Pakistan TV during the Test, told Sky Sports News from inside the stadium: "The Sri Lankan players are quite shocked. They all fell to the floor of the team bus when the attack happened.

"Some of them have wounds but I think most of them are superficial wounds. I have spoken to Sangakkarra, he has a shrapnel wound in his right shoulder.

"The team are sitting in the changing room watching local TV. They are waiting for helicopters to arrive to take them to a local army base and wait for a connecting flight to Abu Dhabi.

Former Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody was left shocked by news of the terrorist attack against his former players.

"I was very shocked and saddened to learn of the news coming from Lahore of the attack on the Sri Lankan team bus earlier today," Moody said in a statement.

"My thoughts and prayers are not only with my friends in the Sri Lankan cricket team, but with the families of everyone that has been killed or injured in today's attack."

INTERNATIONAL SCOREBOARD

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