Bairstow in doubt for fourth ODI against Sri Lanka after football injury

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England opener Jonny Bairstow is a doubt for the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka after injuring his ankle playing football in England’s pre-training warm-up session.

Bairstow turned his ankle over and immediately ceased training. England medical staff will assess the injury ahead of the  in Kandy on Saturday.

Alex Hales is a safe bet to take Bairstow’s place at the top of the order if the Yorkshireman is ruled out, though Joe Denly, who has replace the injured Liam Dawson in England’s ODI squad, is also a contender.

READ: Jayawardene: Sri Lanka are going backwards

Together with Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales are directly competing for a top-order spot in England's ODI side

England banned football a decade ago when Denly was injured by an overly-enthusiastic tackle from batsman Owais Shah. Denly soent two weeks out with bruising to the bone, so it’s little wonder that he sat out of today’s kickabout.

England coach Trevor Bayliss is not a fan of the activity according to The Telegraph. The high risk of injury makes it unpopular with the coach but the England players feel it helps them relax and boosts team morale.

Jos Buttler takes the gloves for England in the 50-over form so Bairstow will not be keen to allow Hales the opportunity to stake a claim at the top of the order ahead of the World Cup on home soil in 2019.