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England in Sri Lanka 2021

Sri Lanka vs England - Moeen Ali tests positive for

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Moeen will remain in isolation until Friday or Saturday at request of Sri Lankan authorities

Moeen Ali looks set to be ruled out of both of England’s Tests in Sri Lanka after his period in quarantine was extended.

Moeen, who tested positive for Covid-19 shortly after arrival in the country, has been in isolation since January 3. While he had hoped to be released on Wednesday, after ten days, authorities in Sri Lanka have insisted – with the full support and understanding of the England team management – he remain isolated for a while longer. As a result, he is now hoping to be released on Friday or Saturday.

While that, in theory, might allow him time to recover before the second Test, starting on January 22, the England management have intimated they will take a cautious attitude towards his return. Moeen experienced mild symptoms of the virus shortly after he was diagnosed and, as a result, will need time to rebuild his fitness. The first Test against India, which is scheduled to start on February 5, is a more realistic goal.

The news, though not entirely unexpected, is a blow to Moeen and England. He was England’s equal highest wicket-taker with Jack Leach on their last tour to Sri Lanka in 2018 and looked certain to play in this series. With England also missing Ben Stokes and, in all probability, Chris Woakes, they are without several of the all-rounders who might have helped them balance their side. Woakes was also obliged to spend a week in quarantine after travelling from Birmingham to Heathrow with Moeen in the same vehicle.

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