The England touring party has been cleared to start their preparation for the upcoming two-match Test series in Sri Lanka, starting in Galle from January 14, after returning negative in the second round of Covid-19 tests.
Off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali tested positive for the Wuhan virus on his arrival on the island last week and he will continue to remain in a 10-day quarantine.
All-rounded Chris Woakes will also remain in isolation after he was identified as a close contact.
Barring the duo, all the 22 remaining players and the support staff have now returned negative twice in the last four days and have now been allowed to ramp up their preparations for the all-important Test series with intra-squad warm-up fixtures in Hambantota, with an XI led by skipper Joe Root taking on stumper Jos Buttler’s men.
Ollie Pope has been added to make up for the numbers despite only traveling with the squad in order to build-up his fitness following a dislocated shoulder, he suffered last summer.
England plan to play 100 overs on Friday and might even choose to give both sides equal batting time given the fact that rain is forecasted in the region on Saturday.
The first Test between England and Sri Lanka will commence in Galle on January 14. The series is a start of a bumper Test season for England that will see them play as many as 17 long-format games, including 4 in India in February-March and 5 in Australia next winter.