England hopeful January’s Test tour of Sri Lanka will go ahead despite new strain of Covid-19 hitting UK

England remain hopeful January’s tour of Sri Lanka will go ahead despite the new strain of Covid-19 to hit the UK.

The Sri Lanka government has suspended commercial flights from the UK but the ECB has been given travel exemptions so Joe Root’s Test side will take a chartered plane to Sri Lanka on January 2.

Talks between the nations’ cricket boards have been positive and England – who will be tested for coronavirus before they depart and then upon arrival – expect the two-match tour to proceed as planned.

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England will spend 10 days in a bio-secure bubble in Hambantota after arriving in Sri Lanka – although they will be able to train outside.

Root’s men will then face Sri Lanka in behind-closed-doors Tests in Galle, with the first from January 14 and the second from January 22.

The Sri Lanka-England series, which is part of the World Test Championship, was supposed to take place in March this year but was abandoned midway through the tourists’ warm-up game in Colombo amid the escalating situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Daminda Attanayake, the Sri Lankan team’s physician, told ESPNcricinfo: “I don’t think we should [look at the new strain as something that jeopardises the tour].

“Yes, anxiety is high at this stage from everybody. But when you look at the scientific evidence, I don’t think we should stop it. We might have to take extra precautions, but we don’t need to stop the tour.”

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