Samaraweera recovers after bullet removed from leg

Thilan Samaraweera has undergone successful surgery to have a bullet removed from his leg after the batsman was shot in Tuesday's militant attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

The 32-year-old, the most seriously wounded of the six Sri Lanka players hurt in the ambush, was transferred immediately to the Nawaloka hospital in central Colombo after the team's arrival on Wednesday morning and underwent surgery the same day.

The bullet was lodged in his left thigh and successfully removed after a two-and-half hour operation, after which Samaraweera spoke of his relief to be home with his family.

"I am feeling better and I'm very happy to be back in Colombo with my wife Erandathie and my children," Samaraweera said in a statement.

"This has obviously been a very difficult time for them but we are all relieved the operation was successful.

"The surgeon told us that it must have been a 'lucky bullet' because somehow it missed all the important bits of nerve tissue, tendons and ligaments."

Samaraweera went on to praise the driver of the bus, whose quick thinking and bravery helped the team escape the scene of the attack.

"I certainly feel lucky to have survived and I would also like to sincerely thank the driver, Khalil, for showing such courage to get the team bus away from the gunmen."

Samaraweera has abandoned plans to play county cricket in England this year and hopes to be back to full fitness for Sri Lanka's next test series against Pakistan in July.

"Like my fellow players, I want to get back playing cricket as soon as possible. Cricket is my passion and my profession," he added.

"Realistically, I will rest and recuperate for a few weeks and the surgeon says I should be able to resume training towards the end of April or early May."

Of the other players wounded, Sri Lanka vice-captain Kumar Sangakkara was discharged from hospital on Thursday morning after minor surgery a day earlier to remove shards of metal from his shoulder.

Spinner Ajantha Mendis will remain in hospital after he had two operations on Wednesday to remove shrapnel from his lower back and head.

He is not expected to play for between four-to-six weeks.

Tharanga Paravitana is expected to be released from hospital later on Thursday after being monitored for a bullet wound to the chest.

Mahela Jayawardene and Suranga Lakmal have both been released from hospital after their minor wounds were dressed.

Assistant coach Paul Farbrace will remain in hospital until at least Friday while his arm injury is monitored.

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