Mathews leaves on the day of the second ODI, having captained the T20I leg of the tour. There are two ODIs and two Tests yet to be played, as well as a practice match ahead of the Test series. He was expected to be in Sri Lanka’s middle order for all of these matches.
His departure further depletes an ODI squad that is without the likes of Kusal Perera and Lahiru Kumara, due to injury, and for the second match is also without Dasun Shanaka, whose late arrival due to visa troubles have meant he is available for the third ODI only. Dhananjaya de Silva is in the Caribbean, but is also still in quarantine and is available only for the Test series, as he is making a gradual return to top-flight cricket following a significant thigh injury sustained in December.
Sri Lanka lost the T20 series 2-1, and lost the first of three ODIs as well. The likes of Oshada Fernando, Thisara Perera, and Niroshan Dickwella are available to take up Mathews’ place in the XI.