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Published: Monday, July 23, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo: New Zealand will continue its current tour of Sri Lanka despite Thursday's street violence in the capital Colombo where two people were killed and more than 70 wounded in police shooting, officials said.[an error occurred while processing this directive]Cricket officials said New Zealand would play its next One-day International against India on Friday at the R Premadasa Stadium located in the same area where most of the teargas attacks took place on Thursday. "Thereafter, the New Zealand team has a four-day break till its next match exactly in a week and we are arranging an excursion for them outside the city," a Board official said. He said the team was headed to the southern coastal resort of Bentota, 65 kilometres (40 miles) south of here, after Friday's match.New Zealand lost its first match by 16 runs to Sri Lanka on Wednesday. Thursday's violence had been discussed by the two visiting teams, but there was no immediate decision to pull out, Sri Lankan officials said, adding that the safety of the teams was assured.The cricket teams are guarded by the police Ministerial Security Division and accorded protection usually reserved for visiting heads of state. Fans are routinely body searched before being allowed to watch matches.Compounding the problem was the sudden shifting of three matches from the northern town of Dambulla, 150 kilometres (93 miles) north of here, due to a dispute with contractors who put up the stadium there.New Zealanders have had a streak of bad luck in Sri Lanka. In November 1992, a suicide bomber killed the navy chief Clancey Fernando right in front of the New Zealand team hotel prompting the Kiwis to pack their bags and go. This time too, they are staying at the Taj.Six years earlier, another New Zealand team pulled out when a powerful bomb exploded at Colombo's main bus station, killing 111 people.

Copyright AFP 2001


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