England’s Test team have arrived in Sri Lanka amid stringent coronavirus protocols ahead of the two-match series later this month.

The touring party underwent Covid-19 tests and were sprayed with disinfectant after arriving on a chartered flight at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Hambantota.

England – whose entire touring party tested negative for coronavirus before departure – will now spend 10 days in a bio-secure bubble in Hambantota, although they will be able to train outside as they prepare for the first Test in Galle from January 14.

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Both Tests will take place behind closed doors in Galle, with the second game beginning on January 22, after which England will fly to India for a four-Test series against Virat Kohli’s men.

England’s series in Sri Lanka was scheduled to take place in March 2020 but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic while the tourists were amid a warm-up game.


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Sri Lanka are currently playing the second and final Test of their series in South Africa – Dimuth Karunaratne’s injury-hit men lost the opening game by an innings at Centurion.

Root backs Buttler as first-choice wicketkeeper

Root has said it will take a “really unique situation” for Jos Buttler to lose the wicketkeeping gloves in Sri Lanka despite the presence of Ben Foakes in their squad.

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Joe Root's Test team have landed ahead of the two-match #SLvENG series in Galle from Thursday, January 14 🏏

Watch both games live on Sky Sports Cricket 📺📱💻

Foakes was England’s Player of the Series when they sealed a 3-0 sweep in Sri Lanka in late 2018, scoring 277 runs at an average close to 70, and is widely regarded as one of the game’s finest keepers.

However, the 27-year-old’s last Test appearance came in the West Indies in early 2019 and he seems set to remain as back-up with Root seeing no reason to make a change after Buttler’s strong home summer in 2020, which included a career-best 152 against Pakistan.

Root said: “When it comes to the selections of the teams, we’ll look at the conditions, consider everything and make a call when we’re out there.

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“What I will say is we’ve got Jos coming off the back of a 150 and in probably some of the best form you’ve seen him in in Test cricket. As far as I’m concerned, it will have to be a really unique situation for that to change.

“Jos, as a senior member of the squad in great form, was an integral part of our success in the backend of the summer. I’m really excited for him to carry that form forward.”

Watch the first Test between Sri Lanka and England, from Galle, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 4am on Thursday, January 14.

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