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  • Jason Regan

Day Two of Boxing Day Test Delayed after COVID-19 scare

The start to day two of the Boxing Day Test has been delayed by 30 minutes after another COVID-19 drama engulfed the Ashes.

England players sing the national anthem during day 1 of the third Ashes Test between Australia and England at the MCG in Melbourne, Sunday, December 26, 2021. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Just an hour before the originally scheduled start time of 10.30 am, England's players were ordered to stay in their hotel after a family member tested positive for the virus.

Such as the last-minute nature of the issue, parts of England's group had already arrived at the MCG early including captain Joe Root and training staff.

Players were then asked to undertake rapid tests before the tourists confirmed they had been allowed to travel to the MCG and arrived at around 10 am.

Other members of England's coaching staff and players outside the XI have also been left outside the hotel with a bus left empty in front of their accommodation.

No overs will be lost as a result of the changed start time, with stumps pushed back to 6 pm as it was after rain on day one.

The incident comes after Pat Cummins was ruled out of the Adelaide Test after becoming a close contact of a COVID-19 case.

If further dramas hit, like-for-like substitutes can be used after being approved by the ICC last year for players showing symptoms.

England has already had two tours abandoned mid-trip since the start of the pandemic, following rising concerns around cases around the playing groups in both South Africa and Sri Lanka.

It comes after a horror opening day for England at the MCG, where they were all out for 185 and went to stumps with Australia at 1-61 in reply.

Meanwhile, Seven Network also hit turbulence on Monday morning, with a member of their broadcast staff testing positive and all commentators deemed close contact.

The case has forced a complete overhaul of their commentary team, with what is essentially their Big Bash crew called in to cover the match.

"Just as the broader community is experiencing, we have COVID response scenarios in place to ensure the impact on Seven's broadcast is limited," head of sport Lewis Martin said.
"There have been a number of changes to today's production schedule, which will be led by Alistair Nicholson, Andy Maher and Jason Richardson with expert comments from Lisa Sthalekar, Brad Hodge, Callum Ferguson, Michael Atherton and Dirk Nannes."


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