On Sunday, England touched down in Sri Lanka for the two-test series between the teams later this month with a range of strict coronavirus protocols in place upon the arrival of the visitors.
When they landed at Hambantota’s Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport following a chartered flight, a 23-strong group of players, comprising 16 squad members and seven substitutes, as well as the coaching staff, were screened for Covid-19. As they did before leaving London, all members of the tour group who were sprayed with disinfectant by airport workers in full protective suits returned negative test results.
They will now begin their mandatory Hambantota quarantine period, beginning with isolation in individual hotel rooms until Tuesday, when they will undergo a further round of virus testing.
If the results are negative, the players will be able to practice on Tuesday afternoon and begin preparations for a series that was expected to take place last March but was postponed due to the pandemic.
Both tests will take place behind closed doors in Galle, with the first match scheduled for 14 January and eight days later for the second. According to Johns Hopkins University, there are stringent measures in place to deal with the coronavirus in Sri Lanka, which has recorded 211 deaths and 44,371 cases.
Commercial flights into the country from the UK were suspended by the Sri Lankan government. In other words, England had to fly on a privately chartered plane last month.