Danushka Gunathilaka has become the second Sri Lanka batsman to be ruled out of the Asia Cup, after sustaining a back injury during training on Wednesday evening. He joins Dinesh Chandimal on the injured list, and will be replaced in the squad by batting allrounder Shehan Jayasuriya.
This is the second 50-overs assignment Gunathilaka will miss due to unavailability. He had been suspended for Sri Lanka’s limited-overs matches against South Africa at home in July and August, after having made a serious breach of curfew during the second Test against the same opposition. On a personal note, this injury will be especially disappointing for Gunathilaka, who had been in good form during the recent provincial T20 tournament, in which he scored 247 runs at an average of 35.28 and a strike-rate of almost 120 and finished as the third-highest run-scorer.
Jayasuriya, meanwhile, played in two ODIs in the series against South Africa without making a substantial impact. He has been a fringe player for almost three years now, often excelling at the A-team level without converting that success into international cricket. A good offbreak bowler in addition to being a middle-order batsman, Jayasuriya has another chance to make his mark.
Although only Gunathilaka and Chandimal have been ruled out of the Asia Cup from Sri Lanka’s original squad, the team is likely to be without first-choice spinner Akila Dananjaya through the opening stages of the tournament as well, with Dananjaya attending the birth of his child.