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Sri Lanka vs England – England mull third spin option with Moeen Ali ruled out of first Test

Sri Lanka vs England - England mull third spin option

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Mason Crane, Matt Parkinson and Amar Virdi are with the squad as reserves

England will consider adding one of their three reserve spinners to their main squad ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka on January 14, after head coach Chris Silverwood ruled Moeen Ali out of contention.

Ali has been self-isolating after returning a positive Covid-19 test on arrival in Sri Lanka, with his quarantine period ending on January 13, the day before the first Test. As a result, England may look to one of the three spin bowlers who travelled with the squad as reserves – Mason Crane, Matt Parkinson and Amar Virdi – to keep their options open. Parkinson and Virdi are both uncapped, while Crane’s only Test came in the Sydney dead-rubber at the end of the 2017-18 Ashes.

Silverwood expects to get a first look at the pitch at Galle – where both Tests will be played – when England train on Monday afternoon. Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur told the Guardian last week that he is anticipating “typical Sri Lankan conditions”, and if the surface looks particularly spin-friendly, England may look to field three frontline spinners as they did in their 3-0 series win in 2018.

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