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England squad match to go ahead as South Africa record second positive

England will press ahead with a 40-over intra-squad warmup match at Newlands on Saturday despite a second South African player testing positive for Covid-19 ahead of next Friday’s Twenty20 series opener.

An official update from Cricket South Africa on Friday confirmed there are now four unnamed Proteas players in isolation – two due to close contact with Wednesday’s initial case – and their own practice game has now been cancelled.

The statement read: “One player has returned a positive result after the Proteas’ second, mandatory round of Covid-19 testing ahead of the limited-overs tour against England.

“The player was isolated from the rest of the team and moved to separate, appropriate accommodation with immediate effect. The team’s medical and support staff will monitor the player to ensure his physical health and mental wellbeing.

“To that end, the intra-squad practice match that was scheduled for Saturday, 21 November has been cancelled. CSA would like to reiterate that it will not release names of affected players because of doctor-patient confidentiality.”

With South Africa having a 24-man squad, and the ability to bring additional players into the bubble at short notice, there is no suggestion yet that a tour deemed vital to the home board’s finances is in doubt. Two additional reserve players have already been sent home due to the cancellation of their warmup.

The greatest threat to the viability of a short tour that features three T20s and three one-day internationals instead appears to hinge on whether the virus spreads through the 23-strong England camp, given their inability to draft in extra players.

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The two squads are staying in separate wings of the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands and England have thus far returned only negative test results since arriving on Tuesday. “Our plans continue and the team are preparing to play our first intra-squad warmup match as normal at Newlands,” a team spokesperson said.

England warmup match teams:

Team Buttler (12): Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Jos Buttler (c), Sam Billings, Sam Curran, Lewis Gregory, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Olly Stone, Tom Helm

Team Morgan: Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan (c), Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Tom Curran, Mark Wood, Jake Ball, Reece Topley

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