MOEEN ALI has been ruled out of the two-Test series after his quarantine period was extended by at least another three days.
And all-rounder Chris Woakes admitted he will not be ready to play in Thursday’s First Test following his own week-long isolation.
Moeen Ali has been ruled out of the entire two-Test series in Sri Lanka as he recovers from coronavirusCredit: AFP or licensors
Chris Woakes will miss the First Test having been forced into self-isolationCredit: ECB
Moeen has been in quarantine since testing positive for Covid-19 on his arrival in Sri Lanka on January 3.
The spinning-all-rounder had hoped to be free to join the England squad on Wednesday.
But he is still feeling tired and Sri Lanka government guidelines insist he must remain in his hotel room alone until Friday or Saturday – or maybe longer.
An England team spokesman revealed: “We don’t expect Moeen to figure in the series.
“He won’t be out of quarantine on Wednesday – we expect it will be January 15 or 16 at the earliest.
“He has improved but we have to be led by the Sri Lankan authorities.
“We respect their decision but the good news is Moeen is feeling better.
“When he does return to the bubble, he’ll have to take it easy and build up to a level of fitness required for the intensity of Test cricket.”
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Moeen and Woakes will both miss the First Test, with the spinner also missing the SecondCredit: PA
It is a significant blow to England because Moeen, with his aggressive batting and spin bowling, would have been a likely starter in both Tests.
Woakes resumed training yesterday but admitted he spent a week worrying he might have Covid-19.
He was considered a ‘close contact’ of Moeen after they shared a minibus from Birmingham to Heathrow Airport on January 2.
Woakes said: “I’ve had no symptoms but, once you start self-isolating, you worry a little that you may have picked the virus up.
“Every time I woke up, I was double-checking to make sure I didn’t have any symptoms.
“I’m certainly up against being ready for the Test in terms of time.
“I only had my first bowl on Monday while the guys have been bowling for nearly a week.
“It’s frustrating, my chances of playing are slim.”
Jonny Bairstow is likely to bat at No3 in what could be his last-ever chance in Test cricket
Rory Burns, Ollie Pope and Ben Stokes are also unavailable in Sri Lanka, meaning Jonny Bairstow will be given what could be his last ever shot of Test cricket, batting at No3.
The absentees mean Zak Crawley moves up the order to open with Dom Sibley, with Bairstow and Root follow and then Dan Lawrence and Jos Buttler.
Bairstow can take confidence from scoring 110 at No3 in his most recent Test in Sri Lanka although his returns either side of that innings were modest.
On Bairstow’s selection, captain Joe Root was confident, saying: “Jonny is a world-class player.
“We’ve seen over the last couple of years how good he is in white-ball cricket.
“He has a wealth of experience and he’s had success here in the past.