Jonny Bairstow an injury doubt for 4th ODI after damaging ankle

Opener injures right ankle during England's training session and may be replaced by Alex Hales

Jonny Bairstow hobbles from the field after turning his ankle in training, Pallekele, October 19, 2018

Jonny Bairstow hobbles from the field after turning his ankle in training  •  Getty Images

Jonny Bairstow has emerged as an injury doubt ahead of Saturday's fourth ODI against Sri Lanka after injuring his right ankle during England's training session on the eve of the match at Pallekele.
Bairstow, who went past 1000 ODI runs for the calendar year during England's seven-wicket win in the third match on Wednesday, suffered the injury while playing football on the outfield.
He will be assessed by the team medical staff and a decision on his availability will be made before the start of the game. If the injury has not cleared up overnight, he is expected to undergo a scan when the squad arrives in Colombo ahead of the fifth and final ODI next week.
However, Bairstow will be hugely reluctant to vacate his place at the top of the order. In the build-up to England's World Cup campaign, he is in the midst of a three-way tussle for two opening berths, alongside Jason Roy and Alex Hales.
Hales is currently the man on the outside looking in, and he will doubtless be itching to seize back his place, having lost out only two matches after he top-scored with 147 out of England's world-record 481 for 6 against Australia at Trent Bridge in June.
The opportunity could be particularly timely for Hales too, coming as it does before his Cricket Disciplinary Commission hearing in December, relating to the Ben Stokes incident in Bristol last year.
With the prospect of a ban looming, potentially during the West Indies tour in the new year, Hales may have the next two matches to remind England of his qualities before they have to start finalising their World Cup squad.
Another man who could conceivably be in line for a call-up, however, is Joe Denly, a late inclusion in the squad after Liam Dawson suffered a side strain in the opening match of the series.
Ironically, Denly himself was on the receiving end of a notable football injury during his last incarnation as an England cricketer. He suffered bone bruising after being tackled by Owais Shah during a warm-up at The Oval in September 2009, and never went on to cement a permanent place in the side.
This particular incident was not believed to be the result of a bad tackle. However, Trevor Bayliss, England's head coach, is unlikely to prevent the players from warming up by playing football, as he still believes that the benefits of them enjoying the competition outweigh the risks of injury.