Sri Lanka fume, India cool as South Africa flee “risky” Colombo

COLOMBO, Aug 17, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s cricket chiefs and media slammed South Africa on Thursday for pulling out of the tri-series as India looked forward to playing three matches against the hosts.

The Proteas abandoned the tri-series on Wednesday, saying “the current risk to the team is at an unacceptable level” following a blast near their hotel on Monday which killed seven people and injured eight.

But Cricket South Africa’s assertion that an independent security assessment by a Dubai-based firm agreed with the team’s own fears was ridiculed by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief executive Duleep Mendis.

“I am amazed at their decision to return home,” Mendis, a former Sri Lankan Test captain, told AFP. “The government put in place presidential-level security for the team, yet they were not convinced.

“They took advice from a Dubai firm which is even more surprising. I did not see anyone from this firm in Colombo, yet they prepared a security report within 24 hours sitting in Dubai.”

The state-run Daily News, under the headline ‘South African cricketers chicken out’, said: “They are used to playing in threatening conditions. In South Africa, one has to be careful when even tak