Sri Lanka will be deprived of the services of pace bowling spearhead Suranga Lakmal for the two-match Test series in Pakistan after being ruled out of the tour due to dengue fever.
Lakmal, the most experienced member of Sri Lanka's current pace attack, has been replaced with 22-year-old fast bowler Asitha Fernando in the squad.
Fernando will be able to join Sri Lanka's contingent only for the second Test as he is presently engaged in the South Asian Games in Nepal.
The youngster has thus far made a solitary appearance in international cricket when he earned his maiden ODI cap in a game against Zimbabwe in 2017.
Lakmal's absence is a huge blow to the island nation's prospects of succeeding in the first Test series taking place in Pakistan since 2009.
Although Lakmal's middling career bowling average of 39.0 in 59 Tests reflects poorly, he has been pivotal to Sri Lanka's victories away from home.
The 32-year-old was expected to be an automatic inclusion in the playing XI for the Pakistan Tests but his untimely illness paves the way for other fast bowling options in the squad getting a chance.
Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando and Kasun Rajitha were the three pacers in addition to Lakmal named in the 16-man Sri Lanka Test squad captained by Dimuth Karunaratne.
The team left for Pakistan on Sunday after receiving blessings from Buddhist monks.
The two sides will meet for the first Test in Rawalpindi on December 11 before the action shifts to Karachi for the second match.