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Sri Lanka left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama has been ruled out of the second Test against Australia, due to start in Galle on Friday, after testing positive for Covid-19.
An SLC media release stated that the 23-year-old had complained of feeling "unwell", which was prompted the test. "Jayawickrama was immediately isolated from the rest of the team members and now will remain in room isolation for 5 days," added the release.
Following Jayawickrama testing positive, the rest of the Sri Lanka players and support staff were subjected to Rapid Antigen Tests, with SLC confirming they had all returned negative results.
The news is a blow for Sri Lanka, who would have been banking on Jayawickrama in their bid to level the series. Sri Lanka succumbed to a heavy 10-wicket defeat on a spin-heavy Galle surface last week. However among the most striking aspects was seeing the visiting spinners extracting far more assistance off the surface than those from the home side. Of those left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya struggled the most, going wicketless and bowling just the 15 overs.
Jayawickrama had been slated to come into the side, likely in place of the out-of-form Embuldeniya. His unavailability leaves Embuldeniya as the only left-arm spinner in the squad, though the uncapped spin-bowling allrounder Dunith Wellalage, 19, who had impressed in the ODI series against Australia and ended it as the leading wicket-taker, is on the list of standby players.
Jayawickrama is the second player to contract Covid on tour, with Angelo Mathews being ruled out midway through the first Test. Mathews is currently recovering from the illness, though SLC is hopeful of him being passed fit for the second Test.