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The first ODI between South Africa and England has again been called off at short notice.

The three-match series was due to start in Cape Town on Friday, but was postponed less than an hour before the toss after a South Africa player tested positive for Covid-19.

CSA and the ECB released a joint statement 30 minutes before the toss on Sunday morning confirming that the start time had been delayed. England were awaiting results after being re-tested on Saturday evening, following two positive cases among staff at the Vineyard Hotel, where both teams are staying.

Soon after, it was confirmed that the match had been abandoned, with hopes that the tour can be completed before England’s scheduled departure on a charter flight on Thursday, December 10, looking increasingly unlikely.

ALSO READ: England expressed concerns over bio-secure environment’s integrity – CSA doctor

This is the fourth Covid-related incident on the tour, and the first involving England. South Africa had one member of their squad test positive before they entered the biosecure bubble and another two days into their preparation. The first player did not stay at the same hotel as the teams and was placed in isolation, with two others who were deemed close contacts, and the second was removed from the hotel when he tested positive.

Then, on Thursday, ahead of the ODI series, another South African player tested positive and the first ODI was postponed less than an hour before the scheduled start. Now, the rescheduled first ODI has been cancelled.

Roy Davies, the Vineyard hotel’s general manager, issued a statement saying it was “unclear” how either staff member had been infected with the virus.

“Neither have left the bio-secure area since November 16 and they do not work on the same team or in the same area,” Davies said. “Our Covid response team is endeavouring to establish all the facts and contact tracing is underway. Our number one priority is the safety and wellbeing of our staff and guests and we have placed all our resources and efforts into investigating and resolving the situation.

“Both members of staff and a player who also tested positive on Friday are currently isolated in on-site apartments some distance from the hotel which have been kept sterilised and available for this purpose. We will issue further statements as more facts become available.”

The teams were due to play all three matches in the series before England’s departure on Thursday, with day-night games at Newlands on Monday and Wednesday following the day game in Paarl today (Sunday).

With only three full days of the tour remaining, it looks increasingly unlikely that the series will be completed. That would have major ramifications for CSA, not least with Sri Lanka, Australia and Pakistan due to tour later this summer.

More to follow…



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WI vs SA, 1st Test, 2021

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Kieran Powell will replace him under the concussion substitute rule

West Indies batter Nkrumah Bonner has been ruled out of the first Test against South Africa in St Lucia after being diagnosed with concussion. Kieran Powell will replace him under the concussion substitute rule.

Bonner top edged the very first ball he faced, off pacer Anrich Nortje, when he attempted to hook a short delivery but played the ball onto his helmet’s badge. He appeared shaken and was checked for concussion on the field – while South Africa reviewed unsuccessfully for a possible catch – and allowed to continue. He faced 32 balls in all and scored 10 runs but did not take the field when West Indies arrived to bowl, midway through the second session.

Instead, Powell was on the field and will now also bat in Bonner’s place. Powell has not played for West Indies since 2018 and was recalled for the series.

If was a big blow on a day of blows for West Indies, who were routed for 97 – the 19th time in Test cricket they’ve been bowled out below 100, and their lowest total against South Africa. Bonner, averaging 62.50 in his four Tests before this one, was one of only five players to face more than 30 balls in the innings.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent



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Recent Match Report – West Indies vs South Africa 1st Test 2021

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Fast bowlers surge as hosts are bundled for second two-figure total since 2004

West Indies 97 (Ngidi 5-19, Nortje 4-35) vs South Africa

Lungi Ngidi‘s second Test five-for and a four-wicket haul from Anrich Nortje saw West Indies dismissed for their lowest total against South Africa and left them questioning their decision to bat first. West Indies have only been bowled out for under 100 in Tests once since 2004 and, in conditions with movement on offer and on a pitch with true bounce, South Africa’s attack condemned them to another sub-triple-figure score.

Between them, Nortje, Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada impressed with accuracy and aggression, leaving allrounder Wiaan Mulder and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj with a light workload on the opening day. Nortje made the early breakthroughs with three wickets in the morning session while Ngidi led the post-lunch surge, in which South Africa took six wickets in 13.5 overs.

No West Indies batsman scored more than 20 and no partnership was worth more than 24. That is more a reflection on South Africa’s incisiveness than the hosts’ shot selection, and in most cases, there was little the batters could do against excellent bowling and solid slip catching.

Rabada set the tone and looked back to his menacing best when he beat Kraigg Brathwaite with the new ball on several occasions but did not find the edge. Instead, it was Nortje who struck at the other end. He bowled Shai Hope in the perfect fast bowler’s fashion as the ball angled away and hit the top of off stump to break a 24-run opening stand.

Nortje could have had a second wicket off the next ball when he greeted Nkumah Bonner with a menacing short ball that Bonner appeared to top-edge onto his badge. South Africa reviewed while Bonner had a concussion test. The former was unsuccessful and showed no bat involved and the latter revealed Bonner could continue, but he didn’t last very long.

Three balls later, Nortje bowled Brathwaite with a delivery that jagged back into the West Indian captain and onto the outside of the off stump. While Bonner and Roston Chase spent 65 balls together trying to rebuild, but accumulated just 14 runs. Chase took 25 deliveries to get off the mark, and the pressure told. Bonner was squared up by Rabada and edged to Quinton de Kock before new batter Kyle Mayers tried to pull a Nortje length ball but gifted Rassie van der Dussen a catch at extra cover in the next over on the stroke of lunch.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent



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Sri Lanka vs India 2021 – Shikhar Dhawan to captain India on limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka | Cricket

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Shikhar Dhawan will lead the Indian limited-overs side that will tour Sri Lanka in July at the same time that the Test squad is in England. He will be assisted by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was named vice-captain of the 20-man squad named by the BCCI on Thursday.

Squad: Shikhar Dhawan (capt), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (vice-capt), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya

Net bowlers: Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh

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