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Tharanga suspended for 2 matches, Kapugedara to lead Sri Lanka

(EDS: Updating with additional information)

By Chetan Narula

Pallekele, Aug 25 (PTI) Sri Lankan skipper Upul Tharanga was today banned for two ODIs for slow over rate in the rain- affected second one-dayer against India.

Andy Pycroft of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees imposed the suspension after the Sri Lanka side was ruled to be three overs short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration even as the match was reduced to 47 overs for the Indian chase.

India won the match by three wickets with 2.4 overs to spare and took a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

In accordance with Article 2.5.2 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to serious over-rate offences, players were fined 10 per cent of their match fees for the first two overs and 20 per cent of their match fees for the third over their side failed to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain also receiving two suspension points.

As two suspension points equate to a ban from one Test or two ODIs or two T20Is, whatever comes first for the player, Tharanga has been suspended from his side's upcoming matches against India in Pallekele and Colombo on August 27 and 31 respectively, while each of his players have received a fine of 40 per cent.

Tharanga pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for a formal hearing.

This is Tharanga's second ban in recent times after he suffered a similar two-match ban for slow over-rate in the Champions Trophy when he had led the side against South Africa in the absence of then-skipper Angelo Mathews.

Sri Lanka have made two changes to their squad, bringing in Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal, who was initially left out of the ODI squad, and batsman Lahiru Thirimanne for atleast the next two matches.

Thirimanne, who was also included in the Test squad but didn't play, has been brought into the side because opener Danushka Gunathilaka injured his shoulder whilst fielding yesterday. Gunathilaka is expected to miss the next two ODIs minimum.

Surprisingly, Chandimal will not be leading the side in the third and fourth ODIs. Instead, Chamara Kapugedara, who scored 40 runs in the second ODI, will lead the side. He was already the anointed vice-captain for the Sri Lankan team in the first two matches and thus was the obvious candidate to lead the side.

It could be a blessing in disguise for the hosts as Tharanga had been suffering from poor form across formats. He only scored 88 runs in six innings during the three Test series and failed again in the first two ODIs with scores of 9 and 13 in Dambulla and Pallekele, respectively.

Thirimanne last played ODI cricket in January 2016 against New Zealand. He has an experience of 107 ODIs and was a regular opener. Chandimal also brings with him an experience of 128 ODIs, and this will be a fresh start for him after he was dropped from the ODI side following Sri Lanka's exit from the Champions Trophy.

Squad: Chamara Kapugedara (c), Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanna, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Milinda Siriwardana, Malinda Pushpakumara, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Thisara Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lasith Malinga, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando, Upul Tharanga (for fifth ODI)

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