Ashes 2021-22: Starc and Lyon 'lucky' to have snubbed Cummins at Adelaide restaurant

By Sports Desk December 18, 2021

Mitchell Starc says he and Nathan Lyon may have also missed the second Ashes Test if they had not snubbed Pat Cummins at an Adelaide restaurant.

Australia captain Cummins was force to sit out the match at Adelaide Oval after the paceman was deemed to be a close contact with a positive coronavirus case at a restaurant.

Fellow fast bowler Starc and spinner Lyon dined at the same establishment, but were considered to be casual contacts with the person who had the virus.

Starc took 4-37 and Lyon claimed 3-58 as England meekly collapsed from 150-2 to 236 on day three in reply to 473-9 declared. Australia then closed in complete command on 45-1 in their second innings - leading by 282 runs.

Left-arm quick Starc revealed it could have been a very different story if Cummins had replied to his text message. 

He said: "It was just fortunate we were sitting outside. It was almost a bit of a p***-take because Pat didn't reply to my message so thought we'd sit away from him and sit outside so it's been a lucky one."

Starc says he did not lose any sleep fretting over whether dining out could have cost him another chance to exploit England's vulnerable batting line-up in a match Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of due to a side strain.

"Spinner [Lyon] didn't sleep. I slept quite fine, there wasn't much I could do about it after," he said.

It was revealed on Saturday that both sides will face stricter protocols for the Melbourne and Sydney Tests due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Players can only follow Starc and Lyon's lead and dine outside, while they must also socially distance with members of the public.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley told SEN radio: "We need to make sure there's social distancing, so we ask everyone to be respectful in the public.

"That's the real shame because what we have seen is players wanting to interact with fans. That's been a feature of the Big Bash. But we've now got very clear protocols.

"As it comes to those on the field of play we need to make sure that people are operating in a really biosecure way."

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    Having struggled in his previous five innings in England's seven-match T20I series, when managing just 59 runs, Salt hit a blistering 88 not out from 41 deliveries on Friday.

    Salt reached a half-century in 19 balls – the third-fastest by an England player in the format – as the tourists levelled up the series at 3-3 in Lahore.

    That set up a decider on Sunday, when Salt will have another chance to underline his credentials to retain his spot at the top of the order at the upcoming T20 World Cup.

    "I'm very grateful for the backing I've got from my team-mates and the management. It's very clear the way they want me to play," the 26-year-old said.

    "The way I play is aggressive and I want to win as many games as possible while I'm in an England shirt. 

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    "It was definitely [my best T20 innings] and it was nice to do it with the series in the balance."

    With Jos Buttler due to return from injury in time for the World Cup, Salt is realistically in competition with Alex Hales over partnering the white-ball skipper.

    "You need competition. The best sides in the world have competition and you can't get away from that – it's the same in any sport," Salt added.

    "Everyone is trying to put their best foot forwards and show the coaching team and the team-mates how good they are.

    "I'm not looking too far into the future; I'm just focused on the next game in a couple of days' time."

    Salt's destruction of the Pakistan attack came after home captain Babar Azam had hit an unbeaten 87 to set England a target of 170 for victory.

    Babar became the first Pakistan batter to reach 3,000 T20I runs during his half-century, doing so in the absence of the rested Mohammad Rizwan.

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    Phil Salt hit a blistering 88 as England beat Pakistan by eight wickets on Friday to level up their seven-match T20I series at 3-3 in Lahore.

    Pakistan recovered from a slow start that saw them 15-2 at one point to post 169-6 at the Gaddafi Stadium, thanks in large to the brilliant Babar Azam (87 not out).

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    Pakistan were without run machine Rizwan but Babar stepped up with 87 runs off 59 balls, which included three sixes and seven fours.

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    The tourists were set 170 to avoid a third successive T20I defeat to Pakistan for the first time ever and had no trouble in reaching that target.

    Only once before – against New Zealand in November 2019 (6.4 overs in a game reduced by rain to 11 overs) – have England previously reached 100 from seven overs.

    Salt played a key part in that as he underlined his credentials to partner Jos Buttler at the upcoming T20 World Cup.

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     The 2022 Hero CPL Team of the Tournament: Johnson Charles (Saint Lucia Kings), Kyle Mayers (Barbados Royals), Faf Du Plessis (Saint Lucia Kings), Rovman Powell (Jamaica Tallawahs), Raymon Reifer (Jamaica Tallawahs), Imad Wasim (Jamaica Tallawahs), Jason Holder (Barbados Royals), David Wiese (Saint Lucia Kings), Alzarri Joseph (Saint Lucia Kings), Mohammad Amir (Jamaica Tallawahs) Sunil Narine (Trinbago Knight Riders) and 12th man – Ramon Simmonds (Barbados Royals).

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