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Sri Lanka lose three for first Proteas Tests

Hosts to be without their skipper Chandimal, as well as two off-field staff, for Test matches in Galle and Colombo

Sri Lanka will be without their captain, coach and team manager for their two-Test series against South Africa due to the side's mid-match protest against ball tampering charges levelled in the Caribbean last month.

The International Cricket Council have confirmed skipper Dinesh Chandimal, coach Chandika Hathurusingha and manager Asanka Gurusinha have agreed to sit out the series, pending the verdict of an official hearing into the incident, which was held on the eve of their first Test against South Africa in Galle.

All three had pleaded guilty to a level three offence of contrary conduct for refusing to take to the field on the third day of the second Test against West Indies after umpires informed Chandimal he had been charged with ball tampering.

SL captain Chandimal cops one-Test suspension

The minimum suspension for the contrary conduct charge is two Tests but judicial commissioner Michael Beloff could hand down as many as eight suspension points each, which would equate to a further four one-day internationals. 

The ICC tweeted that the two Tests against South Africa that the Sri Lankan trio have agreed not to participate in will count towards the sanction imposed by Beloff.

Chandimal already missed last month's third Test against the Windies and was docked his entire match fee after being found guilty of altering the state of the ball in St Lucia.

St Lucia drama as ICC levels tampering charge

Match referee Javagal Srinath said Chandimal applied saliva containing the residue of something he had in his mouth to the ball, in violation of the ICC Code of Conduct.

Sri Lanka Cricket has confirmed that it will not impose further punishment relating to the incident. In March, Cricket Australia handed down lengthy bans to Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and David Warner on top of the punishments from the ICC given to Smith and Bancroft for the ball-tampering incident in Cape Town.

The ICC recently unveiled tougher sanctions for ball tampering and sledging in a bid to improve on-field behaviour in the sport.

The issue of whether players are permitted to chew sweets while in the field has been a topic of contention in the lead-in to the first Sri Lanka-South Africa Test, beginning Thursday, with both captains seeking clarity on the issue from the ICC.

South Africa skipper Faf Du Plessis, a twice-convicted ball tamperer for incidents in 2013 and 2016, called on the ICC to lay down clearer rules on the subject. 

"They still haven't said what is allowed and what isn't. Is chewing gum allowed or is it not?" Du Plessis said, adding: "You want consistency."

Chandimal said: "We will meet with umpires and the (ICC) match referee and ask what we can carry with us to the field. What sweets we can put in our mouths and when."

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