England secured a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first Test on Monday but there will be only muted celebrations at the tourists’ hotel as life in a bio-secure bubble continues to take a heavy toll, said Jonny Bairstow.
Bairstow hit the winning runs at the Galle International Stadium as England claimed the first of the two-match series, but players have little option but to celebrate back at their accommodation near the ground, where they are hunkered down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is something that does take its toll because you’re going from a hotel to a cricket ground and back to the hotel,” he said.
The players had to quarantine in their hotel rooms after arriving in Sri Lanka and return negative COVID-19 tests before being allowed to start their pre-test preparations.
“Unfortunately, the guys are not able to see their families, their kids, wives, girlfriends over long periods of time, which is tricky as well,” said Bairstow.
“I was happy that the Christmas break came round because I think I’d had about six nights at home from the beginning of August until Christmas. I’m not going to lie about it, it’s tough.
”Trying to create a family atmosphere among the players and staff was key, he said, adding that they had spent a lot of time playing video games.
“That’s huge, it’s massive, I think the lads have become addicted to Call of Duty,” he said.“But it is at times like this when you have something to celebrate that you miss those who support you the most.”