Sri Lanka suspend three players over bubble breach before England ODIs

Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka to return home

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 18, 2018 Sri Lanka cricketer Kusal Mendis (R) celebrates with his teammate Danushka Gunathilaka (L) after scoring a half century (50 runs) during the second Twenty20 (T20) cricket match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium in Sylhet. Sri Lanka's cricket board on June 28, 2021 pulled out three players, including vice-captain Kusal Mendis, from the upcoming one-day international tournament in England after they breached their bio-secure Covid bubble. / AFP / MUNIR UZ ZAMAN

Sri Lanka suspended three players on Monday, including vice-captain Kusal Mendis, and withdrew them from the upcoming one-day international series in England over a breach of their bio-secure bubble.

Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella were seen on the streets of Durham, where they are staying before this week's first one-day international at Chester-le-Street on Tuesday.

In a second video posted to social media, opening batsman Danushka Gunathilaka is seen joining the pair, violating the coronavirus rules of their stay in England, in which they are not allowed to roam freely.

Sri Lanka Cricket said the three players were suspended from all forms of the game until an inquiry was completed.

"This decision was taken following a preliminary inquiry conducted over a video posted on social media in which the said three players can be seen outside their designated hotel," the board said.

"The three players have been asked to return home today," a cricket board official told AFP. "They can no longer return to the bubble because that could be a risk for other players."

England pace bowler Mark Wood admitted the Sri Lanka breach showed top-level sportspeople must stay focused to avoid putting their game at risk.

"It's disappointing from them and they're pretty good players as well, unfortunately. But we are going to have to make sure we are doubly on it now because little slips like this can put the whole thing in jeopardy," Wood said.

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