A COVID-19 attack involving two members of the English support staff delayed the start of the second day of the third Ashes cricket test on Monday and sparked speculation that the series could be threatened with further outbreaks.
In response to England’s first innings totaling 185, picking up 61-1 on a green-colored course at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia added 70 runs for losing three wickets to reach 131-4 at lunchtime. Australia are in the first innings with 54 runs behind England.
Night watchman Nathan Lyon went for 10, caught behind the bowling by Ollie Robinson. Mark Wood made the crucial breakthrough by removing Marnus Labuschagne, the world number one batsman, who was caught on the first slip for one at 84-3.
Steve Smith looked hesitant in his innings of 16 and was thrown by James Anderson at 110-4.
Opener Marcus Harris wasn’t eliminated with Travis Head on 11 in the first break 48.
On a day of early drama, Cricket Australia released a statement confirming the COVID-19 outbreak in the English camp, which delayed the team’s arrival at the MCG and delayed the start of the game by 30 minutes.
“Cricket Australia has been informed that two members of the English cricket team support staff and two of their family members have returned a positive rapid COVID-19 antigen test,” the statement said.
“Those affected are currently being isolated. The entire playgroup and all other helpers did rapid antigen tests this morning and they all tested negative. The English cricket team will also be doing PCR testing today and both teams will take extra precautions during the game. “
A statement by the England Cricket Board had previously revealed that the team and management at the team hotel were waiting for the results of COVID tests “after a positive test in the team’s family group”.
TV coverage of the game by Australia’s Seven Network was also affected. A member of the broadcast staff tested positive for the virus, forcing commentators to isolate themselves when the network convened a new team.
Australian captain Pat Cummins failed to play on the second test in Adelaide after coming into close contact with a COVID-19 case.
Since the pandemic began in 2020, England’s tours of South Africa and Sri Lanka have been canceled in the middle of the tour due to COVID concerns.
Australia lead the series of five games 2-0, meaning England must win all three remaining games to get the ashes back.
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