Sri Lanka Opener Pathum Nissanka Tests Covid-19 Positive Midway Through 2nd Test Match Against Australia, substituted
Image: Twitter

Galle: Sri Lanka’s opener Pathum Nissanka has tested positive for Covid-19 midway through the engrossing second Test against Australia at the Galle International Stadium, leaving the hosts in a spot of bother as they aim to level the two-match series.

On Monday morning, ahead of the start of Day 4 play, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) issued a team update saying Oshada Fernando will join the playing XI as a Covid replacement for Nissanka.

“Pathum Nissanka has tested positive for Covid-19. He was found to be positive during an Antigen test conducted on the player yesterday (Sunday) morning, following the player complaining of feeling unwell. #SLvAUS,” tweeted SLC.

Through another tweet, SLC added, “A PCR test carried out later in the day confirmed the result. Nissanaka was immediately isolated in a different hotel upon identification and will undergo Covid-19 Protocols. Oshada Fernando will join the playing XI as a Covid replacement. #SLvAUS.”

Fernando thus becomes the first player to be substituted in two consecutive Test matches as a Covid-19 substitute after he had replaced Angelo Mathews in the series opener. Mathews was able to take his place in the side for this game having completed his five-day isolation period.

This is the sixth Covid-19 case in the Sri Lankan camp after Jeffrey Vandersay, Dhananjaya de Silva, Asitha Fernando all played in the first Test but were ruled out of the second after testing positive.

Spinner Praveen Jayawickrama, who didn’t play the opening Test, was likely to be called for the second match but he too tested Covid-positive.

With two days of the series remaining, Australia have managed to avoid any Covid cases within their squad. Andrew McDonald, the head coach, arrived late for the tour last month after testing positive before leaving.

Sri Lanka have a short turnaround to their next Test with the opening match against Pakistan getting underway in Galle on June 16.