Ahead of the third T20I against Australia later on Tuesday, Sri Lanka got a shot in the arm as their top-order batter Kusal Mendis — who had returned a positive COVID-19 test on February 7 after having landed in Australia — has recovered and will be available for selection for the crucial match.
The tourists are trailing Australia 0-2 in the five-match T20I series and the third match of the five-match series will be played at the Manuka Oval here later on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) issued a player update late on Monday saying that Mendis had been given medical clearance to join the team.
“Player Update #AUSvSL: Kusal Mendis who tested positive for Covid-19 has recovered and will be available for selections for the 3rd T20I game against Australia. He has joined the team, following medical clearance,” said a SLC tweet.
SLC also said that pace bowler Binura Fernando, whose Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) had come positive on February 12, had returned a positive PCR test as well for the virus.
“Binura Fernando was found to be positive during a routine Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) conducted on Saturday 12th February. The result of the RAT was confirmed following a PCR test which was conducted on the same day,” SLC said on twitter.
Fernando, who was one of the most economical fast bowlers in the first T20I on February 11, missed the second game against the host on February 12 and will also miss Tuesday’s game.
With bowling figures of 2/12 in four overs, Binura was one of the most successful bowlers in the only T20I he played here.
Sri Lanka have been hit by several COVID-19 cases since arriving in Australia, with uncapped pacer Nuwan Thushara, who is in the 20-member squad, testing COVID-positive along with the team trainer Dilshan Fonseka on January 31.
Following the five-match T20I series against Australia, scheduled to end on February 20, Sri Lanka will travel to India for a two-match Test and three-match T20 series, starting February 25.