Sri Lanka trio Gunathilaka, Mendis and Dickwella have bans lifted

By Sports Desk January 07, 2022

Sri Lanka's Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella have had their one-year bans on playing international cricket lifted.

The decision from Sri Lanka Cricket comes less than six months into the suspension period, and means they are once again eligible for selection in domestic cricket as well as for their national side.

The ban was handed out after the three players were found to have breached COVID-19 bio-bubble protocols during the tour of England last year.

The players were in Durham preparing for the first of three ODIs when they left the team hotel to visit the city centre despite strict COVID-19-related rules.

Batsmen Mendis and Gunathilaka, and wicketkeeper-batsman Dickwella were sent home and hit with strong sanctions.

The executive committee of Sri Lanka Cricket took into account recommendations made by an independent panel of inquiry before handing down a 12-month ban from playing at international level and a six-month domestic suspension.

All three were also fined 10million Sri Lanka Rupees (around £36,000) for their indiscretion.

However, a statement released on Friday outlined that the ban had been lifted, confirming: "Sri Lanka Cricket has decided to lift the one-year suspension imposed on the [three] players from playing international cricket, across all three formats, with immediate effect.

"The latest decision was taken following a request made by the three players to Sri Lanka Cricket to lift the ban imposed on them, pursuant to the conclusion of the LPL 2021. Based on such request, Sri Lanka Cricket obtained a report from the doctor appointed by SLC to provide counselling for the three players during their period of suspension."

Sri Lanka Cricket did also state that if the trio have any further disciplinary breaches in the next two years, the remainder of the suspension will need to be served.

"The lifted suspension will remain suspended for a period of two years, during which the three players' conduct will be closely monitored by the SLC," the release added.

"Accordingly, the three players will be able to engage in playing domestic cricket with immediate effect and will also be available for national selection, subject to complying with mandatory fitness standards."

Related items

  • Australia take the upper hand on weather-affected day two in Galle Australia take the upper hand on weather-affected day two in Galle

    Usman Khawaja and Cameron Green scored half-centuries as Australia moved into a strong position on a rain-affected day of the first Test against Sri Lanka.

    Only 44 overs were bowled at the Galle International Stadium on Thursday after no play was possible in the morning session due to rain and high winds, which brought down the roof of a temporary stand.

    The tourists made up for lost time after play got under way at 1.45pm local time, reaching 313-8 in reply to Sri Lanka's 212 all out when the umpires called stumps due to bad light.

    The in-form Khawaja made a patient 71 and all-rounder Green struck an excellent 77, while Alex Carey scored a brisk 45 before Pat Cummins smashed an unbeaten 26 off only 16 balls.

    Dhananjaya de Silva had Travis Head caught and bowled in the second over of the day and Australia were 157-5 when Khawaja became Jeffrey Vandersay's first Test victim.

    Green and Carey then combined for an 84-run stand to put the tourists on top, scoring quickly as they swept with conviction in tricky conditions.

    Dinesh Chandimal took an excellent catch running back from mid-off and Green finally fell leg before to Ramesh Mendis, the pick of the bowlers with 4-107, in the final session.

    Captain Cummins provided a late flurry of runs to extend his side's lead to 101 at stumps, hitting two sixes in what proved to be the last over the day from Vandersay as Australia put themselves in a great position to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

     

    Khawaja purple patch continues

    This was another assured knock from Khawaja, who made his 17th Test half-century at the top of the order in what has been a magnificent year for the left-hander.

    After scoring two centuries, 91 and 44 not out in the series win over Pakistan, the 35-year-old took his tally of Test runs in 2022 to 822 at a staggering average of 117.42.

    Green shows maturity

    The 23-year-old Green was not required to bowl as Sri Lanka were dismissed on day one, but he made his mark with the bat.

    He became the second-youngest player to score a Test half-century for Australia in Sri Lanka behind the late Phil Hughes (22y 290d in September 2011). Green scored found the rope six times in a composed knock.

  • Lyon claims 20th Test five-for at the ground where it all began before Sri Lanka fight back Lyon claims 20th Test five-for at the ground where it all began before Sri Lanka fight back

    Nathan Lyon claimed his 20th Test five-for as Australia edged a busy first day of the opening Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.

    Back of the sight of his debut in five-day cricket back in 2011, Lyon (5-90) left Sri Lanka in a spin as he and Mitchell Swepson (who finished with a Test-best 3-55) bowled the hosts out for 212 – a fine counter-attacking half-century from Niroshan Dickwella limiting the damage.

    Ramesh Mendis then struck twice to account for David Warner (25) and Marnus Labuschagne (13) before dangerman Steve Smith (13) was run out following a miscommunication with Usman Khawaja, to leave Australia 98-3 and still 112 runs in arrears.

    Despite going wicketless in the first session, Lyon's constant pressure allowed Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc to make the morning breakthroughs – both Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis edging behind.

    But after lunch Lyon had his rewards after lunch when captain Dimuth Karunaratne ballooned one to David Warner in the slips.

    A couple of beauties from Swepson sent Dhananjaya de Silva and Dinesh Chandimal back to the pavilion, before Dickwella saw off the hat-trick ball and preceded to reach his half century in just 42 balls.

    Lyon, who had conceded 14 runs in one over to Dickwella, accounted for Angelo Mathews and – following a 54-run seventh-wicket stand – had Mendis trapped lbw before finally having the dangerman sent packing. He had a fifth after a sharp catch from Khawaja at mid-on had Lasith Embuldeniya trudging off.

    It would have been a significantly better day for the tourists if it were not for the late wickets, the last of which was a shambolic run-out when Khawaja and Smith started to run, only for the former to send the latter back and well out, leaving the former captain seething.

    Shane Warne tribute

    Sri Lanka's cricket board paid tribute to the late Shane Warne before the start of play, with a number of the nation's cricket icons in attendance – including off-spin great Muttiah Muralitharan and former captain Arjuna Ranatunga.

    Warne died at the age of 52 in March of a suspected heart attack and took his 500th Test wicket at Galle in 2004.

    The Test series will be played for the Warne-Muralitharan trophy, which has been on offer since 2007-08 but the current series is the first since the passing of Warne.

    Lyon joins select club

    Nathan Lyon's 20th five-wicket haul in Test cricket saw him join an elite club as one of only five Australians to secure 20 five-wicket hauls.

    He joins Clarrie Grimmett, Dennis Lillee, Glen McGrath and Warne, with Lyon's latest entry coming 11 years since his maiden five-for on his debut in Galle.

    Among active cricketers, Lyon ranks third behind only James Anderson of England (31) and Ravichandran Ashwin of India (30).

  • India see off Ireland with four-run victory in thriller India see off Ireland with four-run victory in thriller

    India saw off a dramatic Ireland response to edge a thrilling second T20I on Tuesday as they held on for a four-run victory at Malahide.

    The visitors completed a clean sweep of the two-match series thanks to a superb second-wicket stand of 176 between Sanju Samson and Deepak Hooda, eventually reaching 225-7.

    That partnership proved enough to stave off what would have been a famous Irish triumph, but only by a narrow margin after skipper Andrew Balbirnie's 60 off 37 balls dragged the hosts close to victory.

    With a six required for a stunning win, Mark Adair could only manage a single on the final ball to ensure India clung on in what proved a far tougher match than their blowout seven-wicket win on Sunday.

    Ahead of next month's three-game tour against England, which follows this week's rearranged fifth Test match at Edgbaston, the visitors will feel they have been now suitably tested.

    Samson and Hooda overcame the early loss of Ishan Kishan for three to make it a magnificent display with 77 and 104 respectively, combining for a cumulative 28 boundaries between them.

    Though a flurry of late wickets looked to have checked India's stride, their total still seemed to represent a tall order for Ireland to chase, particularly after Balbirnie fell to make it 107-3 in response after 10.3 overs.

    But Harry Tector (39) and George Dockrell (34) helped lead a stirring reply to take the match down to the wire, where the hosts fell agonisingly short of a historic result.

    Kishan yet to lock in spot?

    With three in this match and 26 on Sunday, Kishan hasn't had a two-game streak to remember - and with just one 50 in his past five T20Is, there is an argument - perhaps bizarrely - that his spot at the top of the order for this year's T20I World Cup remains in flux. The left-hander will likely be safe even with a poor run against England however, thanks to doubling as wicketkeeper.

    Tector tough to touch

    Harry Tector was in the mood to bat fast again, and clubbed his 39 from 28 balls, with five boundaries. It comes on the back of a standout innings in the first match, and a trio of impressive scores in February, including a half-century off 37 balls against the United Arab Emirates.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.