Driver - All hell broke loose
The man who was driving Sri Lanka's team bus when it came under attack has spoken about the ordeal the players went through.
Last Updated: 03/03/09 4:08pm
Mehar Mohammad Khalil, the man who was driving Sri Lanka's team bus when it came under fire from gunmen, admitted those onboard were lucky to still be alive.
The attack happened as the bus approached the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore ahead of the third day of the second Test against Pakistan.
A total of seven players - Thilan Samaraweera, Ajantha Mendis, Tharanga Paranavitana, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Suranka Lakmal and Chaminda Vaas- suffered injuries, as well as assistant coach and former Kent batsman Paul Farbrace.
However, Khalil has revealed that the situation could have been much worse as a grenade luckily exploded after the bus had passed over it.
"I was turning the bus towards the stadium near the main roundabout when I saw a rocket fired at us... It missed us and hit an electric pole after which all hell broke loose," he told Reuters.
"When the firing started one of the players shouted 'go, go' and somehow I kept my cool, ducked and pressed the accelerator and sped the bus towards the stadium.
"They were skilled and they knew what they wanted. God helped us because they also threw a grenade under the bus which exploded after the bus had passed over it."
A professional driver for the past 22 years, Khalil explained how Pakistan's elite commandos had quickly engaged the gunmen, allowing the bus to escape.
"I salute the elite commandos who kept the attackers engaged while I was able to speed the bus away," he added.
"The players saved themselves by lying down on the floor of the bus as the firing was heavy from both sides."
As for the players injured, Samaraweera and Paranavitana were being treated in hospital but were stable. The Sri Lankan Cricket Board said the others hurt had minor injuries.
The squad were airlifted home by helicopter from inside the stadium with the Test, as well as the rest of the tour, immediately called off.