Coronavirus: England's Joe Root 'relieved' over cancelled Sri Lanka tour

England captain Joe Root says the he feels "a relief" that the Test Series in Sri Lanka was called off amid fears over the spread of coronavirus.

The two-Test series was due to begin in Galle on 19 March and a warm-up fixture was abandoned on Friday when the decision was made to return to the UK.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said the mental and physical wellbeing of players was paramount.

"The right decision has been made," Root said before the flight home.

"There was an element of relief. You could see looking at the players that their minds were elsewhere, thinking about people back home. Now that we can go and look after families and be with loved ones that's put a lot of guys at ease.

"Naturally there was a lot of talk in the dressing room and it got to a stage where it overshadowed the cricket.

"Looking at how quickly things have happened at home, you're thinking about family and friends who might be a bit more vulnerable and that's hard when you're a long way away.

"It was clear it was getting in the way of performance and affecting the mental wellbeing of the guys."

Friday's decision to cancel the series followed a move to delay the start of the 2020 Indian Premier League season until 15 April.

Australia's one-day international series against New Zealand has also been postponed because of coronavirus after initially being moved behind closed doors.

The World Health Organization reports more than 142,000 cases of the virus globally and over 5,300 deaths.

England's next scheduled fixture is on 4 June when they meet West Indies in the first of three Tests.

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