Moeen Ali could yet play for England in second test

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FILE PHOTO: Ashes 2019 - First Test - England v Australia

GALLE, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Experienced all-rounder Moeen Ali could yet play for England in the second test against Sri Lanka after recovering from COVID-19, captain Joe Root said in a video news conference on Monday.

Ali was quarantined after being the only England player to test positive on arrival in Sri Lanka on Jan. 3, isolated from his team mates for 13 days and missed the first test at the Galle International Stadium, which the visitors won by seven wickets on Monday.

But the 33-year-old spin bowler and attacking middle-order batsman rejoined the England squad at the weekend and Root said his inclusion in the line-up for the second test, which starts on Friday, had not been ruled out despite little training time.

“With Mo, I think it’s important that we take it day by day and that we look at where he’s at over the next couple of days,” Root said. “It would be wrong to completely rule him out.

“It’s so good to have him back around the dressing room, he’s such a great character and such a big part of the squad. We are just thrilled for him to be back among us and to be back in training when we start getting ready for the next game.”

Ali will not have much time to prove his fitness before Friday, but England had similarly limited preparations before the first test.

He has not played a test over the past 18 months, having taken a break after the opening match of the 2019 Ashes and missing out on tours to New Zealand and South Africa.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by David Goodman)