Fri, Nov 30, 2007 - Page 22 News List

England to play on despite bombs

AFP , KANDY, SRI LANKA

The Sri Lanka Cricket Board President's XI's Chanaka Welagedera, left, bowls as England's Michael Vaughan looks on during the tourists' warm-up match in Colombo on Tuesday.

PHOTO: AFP

England's cricket Test series in Sri Lanka will go ahead despite two deadly bomb attacks blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels that killed at least 19 people, officials said yesterday.

The British High Commission told team management, preparing for tomorrow's first Test in Kandy, the travel advisory warning had not changed.

"It is for the team to decide on the tour but we have told them our travel advisory to Sri Lanka has not changed, except for a minor amendment following Wednesday's blasts," High Commission spokesman John Culley said. "The level of the advisory has not changed."

A powerful parcel bomb exploded on Wednesday outside a clothing store on the outskirts of the capital Colombo, killing 17, wounding 43 others and leaving the street littered with body parts, police said.

The attack came just hours after a disabled female suicide bomber blew herself up outside the office of a Tamil government minister, killing his secretary and injuring two security guards.

England, who are due to play the second Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club from Dec. 9 to Dec. 13 in Colombo, said the series would go ahead as originally planned.

"We have spoken to the [British] High Commission in light of the bombs," team spokesman Andrew Walpole told reporters.

"There has been no change in the travel advice we have received from them, at this stage, and it has no effect on the tour arrangements, he said. "We always keep the tour itinerary and security arrangements under review and we won't be complacent during the tour."

The third and final Test will be played in the southern coastal town of Galle from Dec. 18 to Dec. 22.

The High Commission's travel advisory has been updated to include Wednesday's blast and reminds British residents that "there is a high threat from terrorism."

"Attacks can be indiscriminate, and have occurred in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers," it said.

"There is heightened security in Sri Lanka and you are advised to comply with government and security force instructions," it said.

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