Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka has been arrested and charged for an alleged sexual assault on a woman in Sydney, hours after the national team lost to England at the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.
Gunathilaka was ruled out of the World Cup during the first round with a hamstring injury but he remained with the team in Australia.
“Sex crimes squad detectives have charged a Sri Lankan national following an investigation into the alleged sexual assault of a woman in Sydney’s east last week,” New South Wales police said in a statement on Sunday.
Sri Lanka’s cricket board confirmed the man was 31-year-old Gunathilaka.
“Sri Lanka Cricket confirms that it was notified by the ICC that player Danushka Gunathilaka has been arrested on the allegations of sexual assault of a woman in Sydney,” it said in a statement.
“SLC will closely monitor the proceedings in court and, in consultation with the ICC, will expeditiously initiate a thorough inquiry into the matter and take stern action against the player if found guilty.”
Sri Lanka cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka has been arrested in Sydney yesterday for rape. Sri Lanka team left home without him this morning. Gunathilaka was injured three weeks ago and replaced by Ashen Bandara. But team management kept him with the squad without sending him home.
— Rex Clementine (@RexClementine) November 6, 2022
Police said detectives began an investigation on Saturday after receiving reports that a 29-year-old woman had been sexually assaulted at a Rose Bay home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs earlier in the week.
Gunathilaka was arrested at a hotel in Sydney in the early hours of Sunday and charged with four counts of sexual intercourse without consent.
“The pair met up in Sydney at a pre-arranged meeting,” Detective Superintendent Jane Doherty, commander of the New South Wales state Sex Crimes Squad, told reporters. “They had drinks and went for something to eat before going back to the young lady’s home.
“Police will allege that whilst they’re in the home the male assaulted the female a number of times whilst performing sexual acts upon her.”
Doherty said the woman took steps to ensure her safety, including communicating with the man for several days before meeting and going on a date in a public place.
Gunathilaka was refused bail and will appear at Sydney’s Waverley Court on Monday. Police say they will again seek to have bail refused.
Gunathilaka made his international debut in 2015 and has played eight Tests, 47 ODIs and 46 T20s.