Sri Lanka has been dealt a massive blow hours out from its must-win T20 clash against Australia with star all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga testing positive to Covid-19.
Hasaranga’s spin has been a thorn in the side of Australia, which has a 2-0 lead in the five-match series having won a controversial Super Over thriller on Sunday.
Sri Lanka released a statement just over three hours out from the first ball in Canberra (7.10pm AEDT) saying that Hasaranga had tested positive during a routine Rapid Antigen Test this morning.
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“Hasaranga is currently undergoing Covid-19 protocols and is placed in isolation,” the statement read.
The 24-year-old — ranked as the world’s best T20 bowler — has five wickets at 14.20 this series against Australia, and has dismissed Aaron Finch twice along with Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell.
He is the third Sri Lankan to test positive to the virus this tour after Kusal Mendis and Binura Fernando.
Mendis is expected to be available for selection having served his seven-day isolation, while Fernando is out until at least Saturday.
Australia will win the T20 series with victory at Manuka Oval on Tuesday night.
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‘THAT’S A WIDE…’ SL robbed as Aussies clinch Super Over thriller after umpire miss
On Sunday, Australia went 2-0 up having beaten Sri Lanka in a nailbiting Super Over.
Sri Lanka will be looking to settle the score having been denied a win in regulation overs after a Marcus Stoin wide in the final over was missed by the umpires.
Australia will be forced into at least one change with Steve Smith missing having suffered a concussion in Sydney while diving to save a six.
His absence will give Australia a chance to change the look of its middle-order which has failed in this series to date.
Moises Henriques appears to be the most obvious choice to replace Smith in the middle order.
Mitchell Starc could also be recalled to the XI having been rested in Sydney for Kane Richardson, who was hit for 1-44 from his four overs.
Although Jhye Richardson is also expected to feature at some point in this series and remains in contention for selection, with Pat Cummins also unlikely to play in every match.
Australia (possible): Aaron Finch (c), Ben McDermott, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
Sri Lanka T20I squad:
Dasun Shanaka (c), Avishka Fernando, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, Janith Liyanage, Charith Asalanka, Ramesh Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dinesh Chandimal, Kamil Mishara, Chamika Karunaratne, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Thushara, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Shiran Fernando
1st T20: Australia won by 20 runs (D/L Method)
2nd T20: Match tied (Australia won the one-over eliminator)
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