Sri Lanka blasts: Cricketer Dasun Shanaka left shaken after escaping church attack at Negombo

Sri Lankan cricketer Dasun Shanaka barely survived one of the deadly blasts that killed more than 320 people in the island nation on Easter Sunday, and says the horrific scenes have left him "scared" to go out.

Agence France-Presse, Apr 23, 2019 17:24:47 IST

Negombo: Sri Lankan cricketer Dasun Shanaka barely survived one of the deadly blasts that killed more than 320 people in the island nation on Easter Sunday, and says the horrific scenes have left him "scared" to go out.

File image of Dasun Shanaka. Reuters

File image of Dasun Shanaka. Reuters

The 27-year-old all-rounder skipped Easter service at St Sebastian's Church in his hometown of Negombo because of a long trip the day before, he told Cricinfo.

It was among six churches and hotels targeted by suicide bombers who killed 321 people and injured hundreds more — the worst violence seen in the country since a civil war ended a decade ago.

The government has blamed the attacks on Islamist militants.

"Normally I would have gone to church... (but) I was tired," Shanaka told the website in comments published Monday.

"That morning, when I was at my house, I heard a sound, and then people were saying a bomb had gone off at the church. I rushed there, and I'll never forget the scene.

"The entire church was destroyed, absolutely shattered, and people were dragging lifeless bodies outside."

The destruction at St Sebastian's was still visible Tuesday -- parts of broken religious statues and smashed pews littered the floor -- as funerals of victims were held.

More people are believed to have died in the blast at St Sebastian's than any of the other attacks, with the local hospital receiving more than 100 bodies.

"If you saw the scene, you would know there was no way anyone inside could have survived, because simply the debris from the blast had injured everyone even in the vicinity," Shanaka told Cricinfo.

After the blast, the cricketer rushed to the church looking for his mother and grandmother, who were at the Easter service. Both survived, he said, but his grandmother required surgery because she was hit in the head with shrapnel.

Shanaka — who has played three Tests, 19 one-day internationals, and 27 Twenty20s for Sri Lanka — described his hometown as "a safe haven of sorts" where there have never been communal problems.

But he told Cricinfo that the Easter blasts have shaken that sense of security: "I'm scared to go onto the streets."

Updated Date: Apr 23, 2019 17:24:47 IST


IPL 2019 POINTS TABLE

Pos. Team P W L D Pts.
1
Mumbai
14 9 5 0 18
2
Chennai
14 9 5 0 18
3
Delhi
14 9 5 0 18
4
Hyderabad
14 6 8 0 12
5
Kolkata
14 6 8 0 12
6
Punjab
14 6 8 0 12
7
Rajasthan
14 5 8 0 11
8
Bangalore
14 5 8 0 11
See Full Table





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5372 125
2 India 5669 121
3 South Africa 4488 115
4 New Zealand 3729 113
5 Australia 4342 109
6 Pakistan 3846 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254