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Sri Lanka call on uncapped duo, Mathews cleared to play

GALLE, SRI LANKA (AFP) – Uncapped spinners Maheesh Theekshana and Dinuth Wellalage were yesterday drafted into Sri Lanka’s Covid-hit squad for the second Test against Australia.

Left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama tested positive for coronavirus after former captain Angelo Mathews had to pull out on the third day of the opening Test with Covid.

Mathews has recovered from the virus and was cleared to play the second Test starting Friday in Galle, Sri Lanka Cricket said yesterday.

“Medical clearance has been given for the player to engage in the game. Accordingly, Mathews will rejoin the team, starting today,” a statement read.

The hosts trail 1-0 in the two-match series after going down to Australia by 10 wickets inside three days last week in Galle.

Theekshana and 19-year-old Wellalage are still to make their Test debuts but played key roles in Sri Lanka’s 3-2 one-day international series triumph over Australia last month.

Left-arm spinner Wellalage was the leading wicket-taker in the series with nine dismissals, one ahead of Australia’s Pat Cummins.

Uncapped all-rounder Lakshitha Manasinghe is also in the squad for the match which begins at the same Galle venue on Friday, but left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya has been released after he went wicketless in the first Test.

Australia’s Travis Head (C) celebrates taking the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Chandimal with his teammates during the day three of the first test cricket match against Sri Lanka. PHOTO: AP