Sri Lanka trio Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka have been banned from international cricket for a year after breaching the team's bio-secure bubble in England.

The players were in Durham preparing for the first of three ODIs against the world champions last month 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 have now been hit with strong sanctions.

The executive committee of Sri Lanka Cricket took into account recommendation 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.

They were also given a further one-year ban, which is suspended for a two-year period.

Mendis, Dickwella and Gunathilaka have been fined 10million Sri Lanka Rupees (around £36,000) for their indiscretion.

 

Sri Lanka trio Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka have been sent home from their tour of England for breaching the team's bio-secure bubble.

The three players were in Durham preparing for the first of three one-dayers against England but left the team hotel to visit the city centre against COVID-19-related health guidelines.

A statement from Sri Lanka Cricket on Monday said: "This decision was taken following a preliminary inquiry conducted over a video posted on social media in which the three said players can be seen outside their designated hotel.

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

The trio featured in Sri Lanka's Twenty20 international series against England, which the hosts won with a 3-0 whitewash, and had been expected to be involved in the ODI series.

"The players have been suspended pending a full inquiry, but have confessed to having gone out," Sri Lanka Cricket vice-president Mohan de Silva told Cricinfo.

"They are being recalled [home] from the tour with immediate effect."

 

Mendis, 26, only made 54 runs in three innings during the T20 series but did top score with 39 in the second T20 in Cardiff while fellow batsmen Gunathilaka, 30, has struggled with knocks of four, three and 19.

Dickwella played the second two matches but the 28-year-old managed just 14 runs with the bat and no catches or stumpings.

The departure of Mendis, Gunathilaka and Dickwella, following an injury to Avishka Fernando has left Sri Lanka has left coach Mickey Arthur with a depleted squad but there are no plans to cancel the series, which starts on Tuesday.

The first Sandals Test match is intriguingly poised with one day left to play at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. Sri Lanka dominated the fourth day on Wednesday and scored 476 in the second innings – with a patient, maiden century on debut by Pathum Nissanka (103) and Niroshan Dickwella (96).

The pair added a record 179 for the sixth wicket and Nissanka became the first Sri Lankan to make a century away from home in his first match. He eventually fell to a catch by Kemar Roach from the bowling of off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, who ended with 3-137 off a marathon 42.5 overs.

Roach had the best figures of 3-74 off 27 overs to end the match with six wickets – following up his 3-47 off 16 overs in the first innings.

This left the West Indies with a victory target of 375. They reached 34-1 at the close and will require another 341 to win on the final day with nine wickets in hand. Nkrumah Bonner will resume Thursday on 15 not out and with him captain Kraigg Brathwaite on eight not out.

The match resumes on Thursday at 10 am (9 am Jamaica Time).

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