England batsman Rory Burns will miss the Test tour of Sri Lanka in March after undergoing surgery on his left ankle.
Burns was hurt while playing football on the eve of the Cape Town Test against South Africa last week and was diagnosed with ruptured ligaments after flying home.
He had an operation on Monday night and is expected to miss the next four months, ruling him out of the two-match series against Sri Lanka.
A statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board read: “England opening batsman Rory Burns has undergone successful surgery on ruptured ligaments in his left ankle. The Surrey captain is expected to be out of action for up to four months.
“He will miss England’s Test tour of Sri Lanka in March and is aiming to return to play with Surrey in the County Championship at the beginning of the 2020 season in April.”
Burns’ injury has spelled the end of football as the team’s preferred warm-up activity, with head coach Chris Silverwood and director of men’s cricket Ashley Giles jointly deciding the risks outweighed the benefits.
The 29-year-old left-hander has scored two centuries and six fifties in 15 Tests since his debut in 2018.
His absence will give an extended chance for Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley to impress at the top of the order, as well as making a Keaton Jennings recall for Sri Lanka – where he scored a hundred in Galle last time out – highly likely.