England's preparations for the Test series against Sri Lanka have been further hit by rain.

Plans for a two-day warm-up game against a Sri Lanka Board team starting on Thursday had to be abandoned after storms in Colombo overnight. The teams hope to play a 50-over a side game starting at 9.30am on Friday instead.

Even if that game goes ahead - there has been only one day's play on the entire tour that has been unaffected by rain and the forecast is not encouraging - it seems England will go into the first Test in Galle next week underprepared. In terms of red-ball cricket, they have had just two days' play so far with several players - notably Keaton Jennings and Joe Denly - missing out on the chance to bat or bowl for a long period of time.

Of more concern, perhaps, is the fact that neither Olly Stone or Jack Leach played any part in that first warm-up match. If England are serious about trying a different formula in an attempt to improve their overseas results - they have lost their last three overseas series and 10 of their last 13 Tests with the other three drawn - both men are the sort of cricketers who should be considered. Stone offers the prospect of the pace that England so clearly lacked in the Ashes, while Leach could fulfil the role of third frontline spinner in the England attack.

England's predicament is likely to renew criticism both of the timing of the tour - which is during a period when heavy rain is usual in Sri Lanka - and its schedule. While such itineraries are a feature of most modern tours - India left themselves similarly underprepared heading into the Test series in England earlier in the year - they do nothing to alter the dominance of home teams. Long-term, you wonder if they are helping Test cricket.

On a more short-term basis, England might also regret the decision not to field Leach in the first two-day warm-up game. If he is a serious option for the Test series - and he really should be - it would have made sense to take every opportunity to play him. England were not limited to 11 players in the match, after all - 13 of them had a go at one stage or another - and this was a predictable problem. As Joe Root had said the day before the game: "With the weather around, you don't know when the next opportunity is going to come your way."

But instead of giving him a bowl, they provided game-time to four seamers and then allowed the second new ball to be taken by Denly and Adil Rashid. Root and Denly bowled 14.5 overs between them; overs which could have been bowled by Leach.

Leach admitted he had "itchy feet" in his desire to play and replied to a question asking if he could play in Galle without any cricket in the warm-up games by saying he would "give it my best shot".

"If there's rain about it's about going to Galle, having two days of prep there and putting your name in the hat through nets," he told the BBC. "Whatever happens I'll give it my best shot."

This episode threatens to sustain a long run of poor fortune when it comes to Leach and England. First, he was found to have an illegal bowling action just as he had forced himself to the brink of selection - at the end of 2016 - before Mason Crane was somewhat controversially selected ahead of him for the Ashes tour at the end of the following year. Crane, it is understood, was the choice of the captain and coach while at least some of the selectors wanted Leach. As it was, Moeen Ali was obliged to play for most of the series when not fully fit and suffered as a consequence.

Then, after Leach made his Test debut in New Zealand at the start of 2018, it appeared he was on the brink of a run in the side. Instead he suffered a broken thumb and then a concussion injury (he was hit on the head by a short ball from Morne Morkel) and was left out of the team for the Pakistan series as the selectors felt - not unreasonably - that he lacked sufficient bowling.

He has, at least, had time to bowl in the nets on this tour. But if he does play in this series, he will have to do so without sufficient game time.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo