Tharanga suspended for 2 matches, Kapugedara to lead Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan skipper Upul Tharanga has been banned for two ODIs for slow over rate in the rain-affected second one day match against India.

Sri Lanka were three overs behind the over rate 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.

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 Angelo Mathews who was skipper a the time.

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 at least 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).