Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka sent home after breaching team bio-security rules

Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka have been sent home from Sri Lanka’s tour of England after breaching team bio-security rules, but it is understood the one-day international series is not in doubt.

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 was determined that the outing broke Sri Lanka’s Covid-19 restrictions and the first-choice trio have been sent home “with immediate effect” and are suspended from all forms of cricket pending an inquiry, according to a statement released by Sri Lanka Cricket.

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“Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to inform that vice-captain Kusal Mendis, wicket-keeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella and batsman Danushka Gunathilaka will be flown back to Sri Lanka with immediate effect,” the statement said.

“This decision was taken following a preliminary inquiry conducted over a video posted on social media in which the said three players can be seen outside their designated hotel.

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“The decision to recall the players was taken by the executive committee of Sri Lanka Cricket, based on the ‘Manager’s Report’ on the matter.

“The three players will be suspended, from all forms of cricket, until the completion of the inquiry.”

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 chances of being kept on was always slim.

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 the visitors now have a real job on their hands to stay competitive.

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