Champika Fernando reporting from Dubai
Sri Lanka suffered a massive blow ahead of their opening Asia Cup encounter against Bangladesh after opener Danushka Gunathilaka was ruled out with a back injury.
He will be replaced by Shehan Jayasuriya in the side. Jayasuriya is expected to join the side on Friday while Gunathilaka will take a return flight this morning ending his Asia Cup campaign prematurely.
“Unfortunately we will have to send him back due to a lower back injury,” team manager Charith Senanayake confirmed. “Shehan (Jayasuriya) will be flown in as replacement.”
“This is bit unfortunate as he has just returned to the side having missed the South African series,” Senanayake added.
Gunathilaka’s absence will be a huge a blow for the Sri Lankan camp who are looking for a resurgent in the limited over format having gone through a miserable run during the last two years in which Sri Lanka conceded three 5-0 whitewashes against South Africa, India and Pakistan. Sri Lanka are currently ranked eighth in the world and had a poor 2017 where they won only five of their 29 ODIs.
The 27-year-old who missed the recent South African series after he was suspended from all forms of international cricket by his following an alleged breach of code of conduct regulations during the Test series was in great form during the recent domestic T20 series and was expected to play a big role at the top of the batting order. Gunathilaka has had a history of back injuries. In 2017, he returned from South Africa after complaining of a back injury.
Sri Lanka who is competing in group B in the six-nation tournament will kick off their campaign against Bangladesh on Saturday in Dubai before heading to Abu Dhabi for their last group match against Afghanistan on Monday (17).
The 2014 champions had their second training session last evening at the Dubai Sports City and will have their final training session today ahead of the curtain raiser on Saturday.