Sri Lanka trio sent home for breaching Covid protocols on night out

Sri Lanka players Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka have been sent home from the tour of England after breaching team bio-security rules on a night out, the PA news agency understands.

Video footage purporting to show two of the players out late in Durham, where the first one-day international will be held on Tuesday, was posted to Twitter on Monday morning prompting an internal investigation.

It has been determined that the outing broke Sri Lanka’s Covid-19 restrictions, leaving the first-choice trio packing their suitcases rather than their cricket bags. Given that the players would almost certainly have faced a mandatory isolation period following their transgression, and the fact that the three-match series will be over by Sunday, the likelihood of being kept on was slim.

Kusal Mendis is among the trio heading home
Kusal Mendis is among the trio heading home (Joe Giddens/PA)

County Durham is currently a Covid-19 hotspot as it battles a rising tide of infections, predominantly among young people, making the unauthorised evening jaunt a particularly ill-advised one.

The news is a further blow to an increasingly beleaguered Sri Lanka side, who were trounced 3-0 in last week’s Twenty20 series, each time by hefty margins, and have attracted strong criticism from supporters back home.

A similar result in the 50-over format was already anticipated given the strength of the reigning world champions in ODI cricket, but with three senior men removed from the equation it would now be a remarkable effort merely to stay competitive.