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Tri-series changed to bi-series as Proteas quit

Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Colombo:The changed Unitech Cup tri-series is reduced to an India Sri Lanka three-match bi-series with South Africa pulling out of the tournament citing security concerns.

South Africa had decided to withdraw after Monday's blast in the city which claimed seven lives but then ICC intervention forced them to stay back till another assessment of the security scenario by an independent agency.

Concerning the Proteas pullout, Sri Lanka Cricket spokesman Samantha Algama told UNI, ''It is final that South Africa has pulled out and this will now be a three-match bi-series between India and Sri Lanka.'' ''We had requested the BCCI for five ODIs but they agreed for just three. The schedule will be finalised tomorrow morning,'' he added.

Earlier, South Africa reiginted the hope that the show will go on after they decided to stay for another security review.

The decision was arrived at after the ICC insisted on a second, independent security assessment to either corroborate or refute the conclusion in the report by South Africa's security consultants that the team's safety could no longer be guaranteed.

However, some senior Protea players kept insisting for an immediate return.

South Africa media also claimed board chief Gerald Majola and injured regular captain Graeme Smith were in favour of withdrawing the team at the earliest, even if that meant inviting hefty fine from ICC.

One of the players was also quoted as saying that the entire team wanted to return at the earliest for even if the terrorists spare the cricketers, they don't want to get caught in crossfire. The cricketer also mentioned that he and his teammates had gone for shopping in the same Liberty Plaza where the blast occurred.

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