England returning to Sri Lanka for 2-test cricket tour

LONDON (AP) — England will return to Sri Lanka for a rearranged two-test cricket tour in January, 10 months after leaving the Asian country as the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold.

England’s players will isolate for three days in Hambantota after arriving in Sri Lanka on Jan. 2, with the first test starting Jan. 14 in Galle. The second test starts on Jan. 22.

The traveling squad will undergo full coronavirus testing every two days throughout the trip and players are expected to be offered mental health screening ahead of the tour, following concerns about their well-being in a bio-secure bubble during the recent tour of South Africa that was cut short.

“These guys have been living in bubbles for long periods of time,” said Ashley Giles, the managing director of England men’s cricket, “and their mental health and well-being is the absolute priority for us.”

Opener Rory Burns has already indicated he could miss at least part of the tour to stay home to attend the birth of his first child. Jonny Bairstow is set to return to the squad, however, after pulling out of his contract with Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League in order to make himself available.

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