Relieved England cricketers finally got their tour of Sri Lanka underway with their first training session after Moeen Ali remained the only positive Covid case.
An otherwise full set of negative PCR tests from Tuesday meant that players could escape their own lockdown in their hotel rooms in Hambantota for the first time since arrival and get out into the sunshine much to their obvious joy.
“We had a good day with the lads pretty keen to get out there after a few days in quarantine,” said batsman Zak Crawley. “We really enjoyed it.
“We had our first day of training today after fortunately all testing negative on our latest round of tests. Only Moeen was positive unfortunately for him.
“It was a huge relief to be able to come here. I was very excited to get out of England, come over here and play some cricket.
“We’re very lucky to be able to do that at this time when other people can’t do a lot. I feel very fortunate we can come out here and play.”
The last time Crawley played for England he hit a career high 267 at number three to announce himself as a Test cricketer of huge promise.
Now though he can expect a move up to open in Sri Lanka due to Rory Burns’ paternity absence and just like bubble life he is taking it in his stride.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Crawley. “It’s going to be a good challenge, Sri Lanka are very good in their home conditions.
“I assume it might be the case that I open. It doesn’t change much for me, I see the top four as all pretty similar roles to be honest. I’m happy to bat in any of those positions but I think it’s quite likely I will open and I’m looking forward to that.
“It was a huge relief to be able to come here. I was very excited to get out of England, come over here and play some cricket in the sun.
“I am absolutely loving it and I’m not feeling any pressure in the bubble – it is what it is.
“I have accepted that this how we are going to play Test cricket and I would do a lot more bubbles to play Test cricket. I’ve plenty more runs to score to secure my place in the side.”
A reasonable sense of perspective then from Crawley who has already shown in his short eight Test career that he has a strong ability to adapt to the situation and conditions.
No adaptation is greater for an Englishman than to be able to play spin well in the subcontinent, and Crawley has been putting in the hours on that craft too.
“It’s something I’ve put a lot of thought into so hopefully I’m mentally prepared,” he added. “You just sit down in a dark room and you think about it. When you’re going to bed and before you shut your eyes.
“I do quite a lot of that and I think I’ve got a decent game plan. Playing spin in the subcontinent is mainly about working on your defence actually.”