England have received a boost on their tour of Sri Lanka with the news that a fresh round of testing for Covid-19 has yielded no further positive cases.
Moeen Ali is now showing mild symptoms after he produced a positive result upon the team’s arrival in Hambantota, where he will quarantine for 10 days in a separate wing of the touring team’s hotel.
Chris Woakes was identified as a close contact of the off-spinning all-rounder and will continue to self-isolate despite the fast bowler being among a round of blanket negatives across players and staff – discounting Moeen.
“All PCR tests from yesterday are negative, except for Moeen Ali, and we can start controlled training this afternoon. We will have a third Covid test tomorrow,” an England and Wales Cricket Board spokesperson said on Wednesday.
The spokesperson added: “Close contact Chris Woakes tested negative but will continue to isolate in his room.”
Moeen was scheduled to stay in Galle but the accommodation had building work on-site and the alternative option was not up to standard as per the protocols. He returned to Hambantota on Tuesday evening and is staying in a separate wing away from the team.
England’s training session on Wednesday afternoon will be their first since arriving in the country on Sunday, when they were disinfected with spray guns and tested before being confined to individual rooms at their hotel.
Their preparations can now start in earnest ahead of a two-match Test series which gets under way in Galle on January 14.
Moeen’s quarantine period ends the day before, almost certainly ruling him out of contention for the opener.