Sri Lanka vs England 2020: Ben Stokes ruled out of tour game due to abdominal strain
- England will be hoping that the all-rounder gets fit ahead of the Test series, which starts on March 19th.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been ruled out the ongoing four-day practice match between England and Sri Lanka Board President's XI in Colombo due to an abdominal strain.
The Joe Root-led visitors, who started off their tour with a drawn three-day practice match against Sri Lanka Cricket XI at the FTZ Sports Complex in Katunayake, are currently facing Sri Lanka Board President's XI in yet another practice game ahead of the upcoming two-match Test series against Sri Lanka (which begins on March 19th).
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Stokes, who was initially named in the XI for the ongoing match, did not come out to bat at his usual number five slot, a position that was taken up by Ollie Pope on the opening day of the match. He has been replaced by leg-spinner Matt Parkinson in the England XI for the remainder of this game.
The team management, however, has insisted that Stokes' condition is not connected to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"Ben Stokes will not be at the ground today and is having abdominal investigations. Full reports are awaited from London. He will remain at the team hotel. To be clear, this is not a viral issue or linked to COVID-19," an England Cricket Board (ECB) release stated.
After opting to bat first on winning the toss, England posted 463 runs in the first innings, thanks to centuries from Zak Crawley and skipper Joe Root. The 22-year-old Ollie Pope, who came in at number five instead of Stokes, also batted well, amassing 95 off 134 balls.
With pacers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood already ruled out of the tour due to injuries, it will be a big blow for England if Ben Stokes, the 2019 ICC Cricketer of the Year, fails to recover before the Test series.
The first test, which gets underway from March 19th will be played at the Galle International Stadium, while the second and final fixture of the series is scheduled from March 27th at Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo.
With several sporting events across the globe either being postponed or called off due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, it remains to be seen whether the upcoming two-match Test series between Sri Lanka and England will go as scheduled.
Published 13 Mar 2020, 14:26 IST