Cricket: Bomb threatens future of England A tour

England A 353 President's XI 204-7
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The Independent Online
England A's tour to Sri Lanka was in the balance last night after a terrorist bomb attack in Kandy killed 11 and injured many more. Graham Gooch, the tour manager, has had talks with the British High Commissioner, David Tatham, and the Sri Lankan Cricket Board.

England have requested a change to the itinerary. Instead of playing the second Test in Kandy at the end of the month, they want a move away from the celebrations to mark Sri Lanka's 50th anniversary of independence, an event expected to be targeted by rebels.

However, at a team meeting last night, the players urged Gooch and Mike Gatting, the England A coach, to cancel the tour because they believe it is too great a risk to continue.

"It is difficult to assess the risk. We do not want to be too alarmist about it but we are considering the situation," Gooch said. "There is no way we will subject any of the players to any amount of risk that we think is not acceptable."

England are particularly concerned about unconfirmed local reports of organised bomb squads here in the Colombo area, where they are due to stay until Wednesday.

Gatting has faced a similar situation before on the sub-continent with the senior England party on the 1984-85 tour to India, when, ironically, they sought refuge in Sri Lanka following the assassination of the Indian Premier, Indira Ghandi.

"It was slightly different because in that situation it was just bullets targeted at particular people," Gatting said.

Players were understandably nervy during the second day of the tour match against a Sri Lankan Board XI, particulaly when a volley of fire crackers was set off in mid afternoon.

England, resuming on 305 for 4, lost their last six wickets for 48, but reduced the Sri Lankans to 204 for 7 by the close.

President's XI won toss

ENGLAND A - First Innings

(Overnight: 305 for 4)

A Flintoff c Ranatunga b Lankatillake 83

D J Sales lbw b Boteju 36

C M W Read c Ranatunga b N Perera 24

A F Giles c N Perera b Lankatillake 6

J Ormond c Silva b R Perera 9

D A Cosker not out 2

P M Hutchison c Silva b N Perera 0

Extras (b8 lb17 w1 nb9) 35

Total (111.5 overs) 353

Fall (cont): 5-306 6-308 7-318 8-349 9-353.

Bowling: R Perera 24-5-65-3; Lankatillake 18-6-50-2; Boteju 25-6-71-3; Dalugoda 20-3-66-0; N Perera 18.5-5-49-2; Ranatunga 6-1-17-0.

PRESIDENT'S XI - First Innings

R Peiris c Read b Ormond 6

T M Dilshan c Read b Ealham 33

*S Ranatunga not out 87

M Mendis c Flintoff b Giles 22

S Silva b Giles 18

W Waragoda c Read b Hutchison 18

H Boteju c Read b Hutchison 4

N Perera c Flintoff b Giles 0

A Dalugoda not out 0

Extras (b3 lb5 w1 nb7) 16

Total (for 7, 68 overs) 204

Fall: 1-28 2-62 3-93 4-137 5-166 6-184 7-185.

To bat: A Lankatillake, R Perera.

Bowling (to date): Ormond 12-2-45-1; Hutchison 15-3-51-2; Ealham 8-2- 23-1; Giles 21-6-50-3; Cosker 12-5-27-0.

Umpires: E K G Wijewardana and T H Wijewardana.

- Myles Hodgson, Colombo