Sri Lanka Cricket announced the emergence of three more COVID-19 positive cases in their camp on Thursday. Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeffrey Vandersay, and Asitha Fernando have all been ruled out of the second Test against Australia, which begins on July 8 at the Galle International Stadium.
The latest set of COVID-19 tests put the total number of cases in the camp to five after Angelo Matthews and Praveen Jayawickrama contracted the virus earlier. Oshada Fernando came in as a substitute on Day 3 of the first Test, with Matthews being ruled out for the remainder of the game.
"All three players were found to be positive during a Rapid Antigen Test conducted yesterday," Sri Lanka Cricket said Thursday.
Dhananjaya De Silva, Jeffrey Vandersay, and Asitha Fernando were all part of the playing XI in the first Test, which the hosts lost by 10 wickets. The first Test also marked Vandersay's Test debut, while Fernando played as the lone seamer in the bowling unit.
The COVID-19 outbreak leaves Sri Lanka without three of their first-team spinners. The Dimuth Karunaratne-led side are likely to rope in young spinners Maheesh Theekshana and Dinuth Wellalage, who excelled in the recently concluded ODI and T20I series against Australia.
Left-arm leg-spinner Lakshan Sandakan and Prabath Jayasuriya have been added to the squad as cover.
With Angelo Matthews completing five days in isolation, he is eligible for selection for the second Test. The hosts missed the services of the all-rounder in the second innings, where they were dismissed inside a session to hand the Men In Yellow a comfortable win.
Sri Lanka trail 1-0 in the two-match Test series
After their historic ODI series win over Australia, much was expected from the hosts in the red-ball leg. Forging a spin quartet on a rank turner, the side could not create as much impact as they would have liked to. The Australians used the sweep shot to great effect to counter the spin, while the same was missing from the hosts.
The Islanders will take on Australia in the second and final Test of the series in Galle from July 8 (Friday) onwards. The Pat Cummins-led side are already at the top of the World Test Championship (WTC) standings and will look to extend their lead with a second successive series win in the subcontinent.