Sri Lanka’s cricketers will host a Test sequence for the primary time for the reason that outbreak of the coronavirus 10 months in the past when the staff takes on England within the first match beginning Thursday.
Sri Lanka has performed simply two Tests in the course of the pandemic and each have been away — in South Africa across the flip of the 12 months — whereas England hosted West Indies and Pakistan with the gamers confined to bio-secure bubbles.
The pandemic remains to be hitting athletes around the globe, with England all-rounder Moeen Ali lacking the primary Test having examined optimistic for the coronavirus upon arrival in Sri Lanka.
Team-mate Chris Woakes, who solely began coaching on Tuesday, can be more likely to skip the primary check after being in isolation as a result of he was in shut contact with Moeen.
Adhering to COVID-19 protocols, just like the ban on utilizing saliva to shine the ball and the way a lot contact the gamers can have on the sector, is crucial.
Elbow touches and fist bumps are inspired however England captain Joe Root prompt his facet would present restraint.
“I’m sure the medical staff will make sure the protocols are kept in place and that if there is anything that needs to be discussed before the game starts, then we are made very well aware of it,” he mentioned.
“We’ll do as best we can to make sure we adhere to that.”
A Unesco-heritage Dutch fort within the backdrop of the stadium in Galle stands out at some of the picturesque venues on the earth. But the stadium, full of England’s group of ‘Barmy Army’ followers when it toured right here in 2018, will this time be empty.
“It’s a lovely ground, isn’t it?” Woakes mentioned. “I was here on the last tour when we won 3-0 and I remember the Barmy Army traveled in high numbers. It’s a great place to play as an England cricketer because you get great support, the ground’s packed, there’s people sat on top of the fort.
“It’s going to look a lot different this week with no one around and no crowd, which is a shame. But we know everyone will be supporting us back home.”
England has not performed a check since August and won’t be as battle-hardened because the Sri Lankans, who’re coming off a two-test sequence in opposition to South Africa — albeit one they misplaced 2-0.
It is the beginning of a busy schedule on the subcontinent for Root’s facet, which can head to India on the finish of the month for a tour containing 4 Tests.
Sri Lanka shall be a very good problem for the spinners and Dom Bess is about for a serious function this month, particularly as Moeen shall be sidelined in Galle.
“We know Dom has the ability and skills if it does start spinning quite quickly to take advantage of that. It’s a really good opportunity for him to show what he can do in these conditions,” Root mentioned.
Root should additionally determine how typically to make use of veteran pacemen Jimmy Anderson, 38, and Stuart Broad, 34, given the India sequence to return and the very fact will probably be an extended 12 months of cricket culminating in an Ashes tour Down Under.
Sri Lanka shall be inspired after batsman Angelo Mathews and paceman Nuwan Pradeep joined the squad. Dhananjaya de Silva (torn thigh) and Kasun Rajitha (groin) have been dominated out of the sequence attributable to accidents they sustained in South Africa.
With the wicket more likely to swimsuit sluggish bowling, Sri Lanka might use leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya and offspinner Dilruwan Perera.