Throwback: When Sri Lanka hosted Pakistan in the 'darkest hour' of cricket

Question marks still hover about Chris Gayle and Kumar Sangakkara's participation. It surely was the 'darkest hour' of cricket

The year was 2009, and it was the second Test of the 3-match series being played between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the infamous Gadaffi stadium in Lahore. Sri Lanka had some big names like Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Angelo Matthews in their ranks. Pakistan, on the other hand, had big players in the likes of Younis Khan, Umar Gul and the rest. So, the tournament was poised to be a mouthwatering prospect.

At the end of the first day, Sri Lanka notched up a mammoth 606 in their first innings. Thilan Samaraweera had hit a well constructed double ton, helping Sri Lanka attain a massive score in the first innings. Pakistan was already facing the heat on Day 2 of the Test but managed to keep all their wickets intact at the end of second days play. Khurram Manzoor and Salman Butt had a good opening partnership of 110 runs and they had all their wickets in the kitty.

It was the third day of the Test, and the Sri Lankan players were travelling from the team hotel to the infamous Gadaffi stadium in their bus. Five minutes after the bus had left the hotel and was en route to the stadium, six armed, masked terrorists opened fire at them. Double centurion Thilan Samaraweera found himself in the firing line and was shot in the thigh with a bullet. There were also others who suffered minor injuries like Mahela Jayawardena, Ajantha Mendis and a couple other players, too.

Ironically, the Pakistani bus driver showed immense courage and did not apply brakes; he continued to drive the players to safety. The Sri Lankan players were taken to the stadium where a chopper was waiting for them.

From that day, ICC has banned all matches from being held at the Gadaffi stadium. But, lately, the Pakistan government has permitted the ongoing Pakistan Super League final to be held at Gadaffi. Question marks still hover about Chris Gayle and Kumar Sangakkara’s participation. It surely was the ‘darkest hour’ of cricket.