Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka charged with alleged sexual assault in Sydney

Sri Lankan international cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka has been charged with allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in Sydney’s eastern suburbs hours after the pair met for their first date.

New South Wales police said the cricketer, who is in Australia for the T20 World Cup, and the 29-year-old woman first made contact via a dating app last weekend.

After a series of texts and calls, they met for a date on Wednesday before going back to the woman’s home in Rose Bay, police said.

It is alleged Gunathilaka assaulted her there multiple times over a period of several hours.

Detectives launched an investigation on Saturday after reports of the alleged assault and early on Sunday morning the 31-year-old batsman was arrested at his hotel on Sussex Street in Sydney’s city centre.

He was charged with four counts of sexual intercourse without consent and refused bail. He is due to appear at Waverley local court on Monday.

NSW sex crimes squad commander Jayne Doherty said the woman took steps to ensure her safety – including communicating with the man for several days online before meeting in person and going for a date in a public place.

Gunathilaka travelled to Australia with Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup team but only played in the team’s first game, a loss against Namibia, before being ruled out of the competition with a hamstring tear.

In a statement, Sri Lanka Cricket said it had been notified of the charges and it would monitor the court proceedings closely.

“In consultation with the [International Cricket Council] we will expeditiously initiate a thorough inquiry into the matter and take stern action against the player if found guilty,” the statement said.

Gunathilaka, a left-handed batsman, has played nearly 100 T20 and one-day internationals for Sri Lanka as well as a handful of tests.

Sri Lanka bowed out of the T20 tournament on Saturday night after losing their final match to England.