(ESPNcricinfo) – Australia captain Pat Cummins has been ruled out of the second Test in Adelaide after being deemed a close contact of a Covid-19 case at a restaurant on Wednesday night. Steven Smith will lead the team in the day-night contest.
First reported in Nine newspapers, Cummins was dining at an Adelaide restaurant when a patron on an adjoining table was identified as a Covid positive case. Cummins immediately left the restaurant and alerted authorities. He has since returned a negative PCR test.
Cricket Australia said that Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon were at the same restaurant as Cummins but at a separate table outdoors. South Australia Health deemed them casual contacts and they are free to play.
This is the most significant impact Covid-19 has had on a professional cricket match in Australia. Earlier this season Victoria allrounder Will Sutherland tested positive which resulted in a Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales being delayed by a day.
Michael Neser will make his Test debut while Travis Head has been named vice-captain. It means an extraordinary return to the captaincy for Smith who was named Cummins’ deputy following the resignation of Tim Paine last month.
South Australia health rules stipulate that a fully vaccinated close contact of a Covid positive case must get tested immediately and isolate for seven days, as well as undergo tests on day 6 and 13 after the contact.
CA expects Cummins will be available for the third Test in Melbourne which starts on Boxing Day.
Casual contacts only need to isolate until they return an initial negative test. But they do require further tests at day 6 and 13 and must wear a surgical mask at all other times.
Players have not been in strict bubbles for the start of the series in Brisbane and Adelaide and Cummins did not break any protocols. There has been a rise in Covid cases in South Australia in recent weeks following the opening of the state border. There are varying testing requirements for people arriving into South Australia depending on where they are travelling from. Anyone required to get a test on arrival does not have to isolate while waiting for the result.
Australia are already without Josh Hazlewood for the second Test due to a side strain with Jhye Richardson coming into the team.