The Ashes: After four positive Covid-19 instances were detected ahead to the second day of the third Ashes Test, England is waiting to learn if there are any more cases in the camp.
England’s players were ordered not to travel to the Melbourne Cricket Ground just over an hour before play was set to begin on day two, as they awaited the results of Covid tests following “a positive test among the team’s family group.”
Following negative lateral flow test findings, England was given the green light to go to the MCG, with play starting 30 minutes later than planned, where a terrible last hour wrecked what had been England’s greatest day of the Ashes series so far as Australia closed in on victory.
Cricket Australia later revealed that two members of England’s support staff and two of their family members had tested positive for Covid-19 during fast testing.
The day’s play may go ahead with only a half-hour delay after discussions between England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison, who joined the side this week, his Cricket Australia colleague Nick Hockley, and local health officials in Victoria. As a precaution, Stuart Broad and Craig Overton, who were not in the starting XI this week, did not go to the MCG.
On Monday evening, both sides decided to take PCR tests, which take longer to process but are more reliable indicators.
England bowler James Anderson was adamant that the scheduled five Tests will be played, but he acknowledged that there was little assurance. After cancelling two overseas visits in 2020 – a Test tour of Sri Lanka and a white-ball visit to South Africa – and witnessing India walk out of the deciding Old Trafford Test last summer, the tourists are well-versed in the conceivable consequences.
“I don’t see why we can’t keep going as long as the group on the ground today is negative,” he said.
“I’m sure that’s the plan, but it all depends on the results of the PCR testing and the circumstance we’re in.” To be honest, answering that question is quite difficult for me. We’re all undergoing PCR testing right now, and we’ll need all of them to come back clean if at all possible. We’ll have to wait and see how things turn out.
“If and when those results come out, many more important people than me will be talking about it.”
Hockley had spoken up about the situation shortly after the game began.
“Everyone is on high alert right now, and everyone is particularly careful,” he stated. “It’s business as usual for us, but tonight the entire group will be put to the test. Let’s wait and see what the PCR tests reveal later. Hopefully, no one is infected.
“All we have to do now is maintain our composure, gather the facts, and ensure that everyone follows medical advice. This is due to the fact that elite sport and significant events are still being held at this time.
“We’ve got solid protocols in place, extensive testing, and terrific athletes. Everyone is itching to play; they’ve been waiting for this for 18 months, and both teams are serious about finishing the series.”
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