England all-rounder Ravi Bopara has suffered a side injury that is expected to prevent him from bowling in the Test series against Sri Lanka.
Bopara is vying with Samit Patel and Tim Bresnan for a spot in England's first XI in Galle on Monday, but his chances have receded after he hurt himself in the warm-up match against a Sri Lanka Board XI.
"Ravi Bopara strained his left side in the first innings and is unlikely to bowl during the Test series," said an England and Wales Cricket Board spokesman.
"He will be available for selection as a specialist batsman."
Although Bopara will be considered for his batting, that may not be enough.
In energy-sapping heat and humidity, England's seamers are able only to operate in short spells, meaning they will be looking for at least one of their top six to act as a relief bowler.
There are other candidates for that role, with Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott capable part-timers and Ian Bell given a rare bowl in the final warm-up fixture.
But Patel's left-arm spin is a stronger option and Bresnan is a frontline paceman who would be likely to bat at seven.