England all-rounder Liam Dawson has been ruled out of the rest of the tour of Sri Lanka and will return home immediately after he picked up a right side strain. The England Cricket Board has announced that Kent all-rounder Joe Denly will be drafted into the squad as a replacement.
Denly, who has played nine ODIs for England, will join the squad in Kandy on Wednesday morning, which means he will not be ready for the third ODI later in the day.
Dawson, who was part of the team for the first two games, bowled six overs and dismissed Kusal Perera, the fifth Lankan wicket of the innings, during the hosts’ unsuccessful run chase at Dambulla. The ECB confirmed that the left-arm spinner initially picked up the injury while bowling during the second ODI.
England were relying on Dawson to be the third spinner after Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, but for the next match, will have to either fill the spot with a seamer or depend on Joe Root’s part-time off-spin. The likes of Mark Wood, Tom Curran and Sam Curran will all be hoping to finally get a look-in on the tour, where Eoin Morgan till now has preferred to play only two seamers in Chris Woakes and Olly Stone.
The Hampshire man now faces an uphill task in cementing his place in the squad for the home World Cup next year. The Three Lions have another eight games before they need to name a provisional squad for the World Cup by April 23rd. After the ODI series against Sri Lanka, the English will play five more matches against West Indies in the Caribbean next year.
England’s bowling department though will receive a boost for the final two games of the five match series with Liam Plunkett, who recently got married, set to join the squad on Tuesday. However, he is unlikely to be ready for the third ODI.