Stokes’ workload is being managed carefully ahead of Tuesday’s series opener in Galle – he did not bowl at all with England in the field on day one against a Sri Lanka Board XI – but this was an unscheduled break for the key all-rounder.
He had only been at the crease for a few minutes, making 10 in 15 balls, when he walked off the field in discomfort.
The 27-year-old had taken on a short ball from home paceman Lahiru Kumara but was through his pull shot too early and the ball thudded into the flesh above his elbow.
He gave no outward sign of pain but after seeing out the over, and staying at the non-striker’s end for four more balls as Joe Root batted on, he decided to seek treatment.
England’s medical staff appeared to rule out any significant damage beyond bruising, offering light treatment to the affected area with a view to him continuing his innings at a later stage.
The tourists’ new-look top order had earlier enjoyed differing fortunes. Keaton Jennings, retained after a lean summer following Alastair Cook’s retirement, chopped on to his own stumps for 13 – reacting to his dismissal with a frustrated swing of the bat.
Newcomer Rory Burns, though, looked in fine touch as he struck nine fours on his way to a neat 47. He had yet to offer up a chance when a miscommunication saw him run out by a direct hit.
Joe Denly, a possible rival for Jennings, did little to state his own case in an unconvincing knock of 25.
Denly started poorly and was clean bowled immediately after lunch. Root made a breezy half-century as he banked some important time at the crease, with Jos Buttler his partner and the score at 180 for three after 49 overs.
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