Terror in Pakistan March 5, 2009

Samaraweera undergoes surgery

Thilan Samaraweera will spend the rest of the week recuperating in hospital and is only expected to resume physical training in two months © AFP

Thilan Samaraweera, who was shot on his leg during the armed attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore, has undergone a two-hour surgery and is reported to be safe and stable.

Samaraweera, who scored successive Test double-centuries in Pakistan, was the worst affected from the terrorist attack and was admitted to a private hospital on arrival in Colombo on Wednesday. He had the bullet removed from his left thigh muscle the same day.

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said the decision to remove the bullet was made to protect Samaraweera's long-term playing career.

"The bullet, which fortunately missed all nerves, was relatively close to the knee joint so the safest course of action was to remove it," Jayawardene said.

Samaraweera will spend the rest of the week recuperating in hospital and is only expected to resume physical training in two months.

After the operation he said he was relieved to be home and with his family after the ordeal. "I am feeling better and I'm very happy to be back in Colombo with my wife Erandathie and my children," Samaraweera said. "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. I certainly feel lucky to have survived and I would also like to sincerely thank the [bus] driver Mohammad Khalil for showing such courage to get the team bus away from the gunmen." Samaraweera, hoped to resume playing cricket in June.

Kumar Sangakkara and Ajantha Mendis also underwent further surgery for removal of shrapnel from their bodies. Sangakkara had shrapnel removed from his shoulder on Wednesday and was said to be out of danger. He is expected to leave hospital today.

Mendis underwent two operations on Wednesday to remove more shrapnel from his head and back. He is still detained at the hospital although he is out of danger. Mendis is expected to be out of action for at least four to six weeks according to medical authorities.

Newcomer Tharanga Paranavitana and assistant coach Paul Farbrace are the other two team members detained in hospital. But neither were operated upon. Paranavitana is expected to be discharged later on Thursday while Farbrace, who had a large piece of shrapnel removed from his right arm by surgeons in Pakistan, is under observation.