Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer to miss England’s Test tour of Sri Lanka

Ben Stokes is set to miss England’s upcoming Test tour of Sri Lanka following the death of his father, while Jofra Archer will be rested for the series.

England face Sri Lanka in a two-match Test series which begins on January 14, with both games to be played in Galle.

Stokes will not be included in the squad following the death of his father Ged, who passed away on Tuesday following a short battle with brain cancer at the age of 65.

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The Durham all-rounder had previously missed the majority of England’s summer Test series against Pakistan to be with his father in Christchurch, New Zealand following his diagnosis.

England bowler Archer will also be rested for the tour of Sri Lanka, with a four-match Test series against India beginning shortly afterwards on February 5.

Meanwhile, batsman Jonny Bairstow will be recalled to the Test squad after pulling out of the Melbourne Stars’ Big Bash League campaign.

Bairstow has played 70 Tests for England but none since December 2019. However, with Ollie Pope looking likely to miss the Sri Lanka tour due to a shoulder injury, Bairstow is expected to return as a specialist batsman.

The 31-year-old averaged only 18.55 in 10 Tests in 2019 and passed fifty just twice during a startling loss of red-ball form – but did hit a century in Sri Lanka in late 2018 while playing as a specialist batsman.

The Yorkshireman’s 110 from the No 3 spot in the final Test in Colombo helped England seal a 3-0 sweep of Sri Lanka after a pre-series ankle injury had seen Ben Foakes replace him as wicketkeeper.

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