South Africa will want to avoid being on the wrong end of a series sweep as they aim to end a barren run in Asia when they go up against Pakistan in the second Test. 

Having suffered a seven-wicket defeat in Rawalpindi, the Proteas are now winless in their previous 13 Tests on the subcontinent, a dismal run of form that followed a 153-run victory over Sri Lanka in Galle in July 2014. 

The tourists were undone by Pakistan's spin pairing of Yasir Shah and Nauman Ali in the first game, with the duo taking 14 of the 20 South Africa wickets to fall at the National Stadium. 

However, the venue for the second Test could offer a little more help to the quicker bowlers, a welcome boost for struggling South Africa as they bid to draw level. 

Their plans for the first Test were hampered by the late withdrawal of Tabraiz Shamsi, who suffered a back issue in the warm-up and had to be replaced by paceman Lungi Ngidi.  

Shamsi has recovered in time to be considered for selection, while opening batsman Dean Elgar is also fit to play after a taking a nasty blow to the hand while batting in his team's second innings. 

South Africa fought hard in the face of a hefty first-innings deficit but were left with too much to do after only making 220 on day one. Amid the frustration, all the top seven in the order reached double figures but failed to build on it, their cause not helped by both Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma getting run out. 

As for the hosts, their line-up may well depend on the pitch. Considering the balance of the side worked so well last time out, it could be they go with the same XI again. 

The top order did struggle but Fawad Alam's century and a wagging tail helped rescue their first innings, having at one stage slumped to 27-4 late on day one. Babar Azam had a quiet debut in his role as Test captain in terms of his output with the bat, managing 37 runs in his two knocks.

CAPTAINCY SWANSONG FOR DE KOCK? 

It appears Quinton de Kock is set for his final Test in charge of the Proteas – for now at least. The wicketkeeper-batsman may have been set to continue in the role for the Tests against Australia on home soil, but that series has been postponed. Instead, the break will allow De Kock to get some well-earned rest and team management to assess their options. 

"When we get back after this tour we've got a bit of time before our next series so we can sit down and make a good, solid call on who can take over from him and release him from that burden and try and get the best out of him," South Africa coach Mark Boucher said on the eve of the game. 

 
SPINNERS IN SIGHT FOR YASIR 

Yasir played a pivotal role in the opener, finishing with match figures of 7-133. His haul in Karachi takes his career tally in Tests to 234 wickets, meaning he is just three shy of fifth place on the all-time list for Pakistan.  

The great Abdul Qadir currently occupies the spot, while another leg-spinner in Danish Kaneria sits third on 261. However, there is some way to go to catch the bowler on top; Wasim Akram finished his career with 414 wickets at a ridiculously impressive average of 23.62.  


KEY MATCH FACTS

- South Africa will be looking to avoid a fourth consecutive multi-game Test series loss away from home; it would be the first time the Proteas have lost as many such series in succession since losing each of their first seven in the format (July 1907 – February 1932).

- Pakistan won their most recent Test at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium by an innings and 44 runs (against Bangladesh, February 2020). They will be aiming to secure back-to-back triumphs at the venue for the first time.

- Babar Azam has scored a century in each of his previous two Test innings in Rawalpindi; no player has more at the venue in the format (Saeed Anwar and Michael Slater also have two).

- Pakistan have dropped 13 catches in Tests so far this year, the most by any side and one of only two in double figures (India – 10).

- Kagiso Rabada has a bowling strike rate of 41.1 in Test cricket, the best by any player to take at least 150 wickets in the format.

- Faheem Ashraf finished with the best dot ball percentage (89.3 per cent) of any bowler in the first Test, though it was the first time he has failed to claim a wicket.

Graeme Smith has admitted Cricket South Africa (CSA) was left "extremely disappointed" with the decision taken by Australia to pull out of their upcoming tour.

A three-Test series was scheduled to take place in March, but Cricket Australia (CA) announced on Tuesday that those plans had been shelved due to the public health situation in South Africa amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The country was dealing with over 10,000 positive COVID-19 cases a day at the start of January and while that number has since dropped considerably, there is also a new variant of the virus.

However, having done all possible to appease safety concerns and establish protocols so the tour could take place as planned, CSA director of cricket Smith revealed the frustration at the late cancellation.

"We are extremely disappointed by the decision of CA," former Proteas captain Smith said. "CSA has been working tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure that we meet every single expectation of CA.

"This was set to be the longest tour in a BSE (bio-secure environment) comprising a three-match Test series that was scheduled to begin with Australia's arrival later in the month. So to be informed about the CA decision at the eleventh hour is frustrating."

Dr Shuaib Manjra, chief medical officer for CSA, explained how the organisation had done everything possible during the planning stage, including proposing protocols to their Australian counterparts that were "unprecedented".

The cancellation has ramifications for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship, too. New Zealand are now certain to be playing in the final later this year, where they will go up against either England, India or Australia.

Pholetsi Moseki, acting CEO for CSA, said: "It is indeed sad that after all the engagements and effort made to ensure a secure visit by our Australian counterparts, the tour has been derailed.

"CSA has incurred significant costs related to the planning stages and the cancellation of the tour represents a serious financial loss."

South Africa are currently on tour in Pakistan, with the second of two Tests set to start on Thursday in Rawalpindi.

They will also play a three-match Twenty20 series against their hosts - with all the white-ball fixtures to be staged in Lahore - before returning home in the middle of February.

Kagiso Rabada put his impressive achievement of reaching 200 Test wickets down to hard work but insisted the "show goes on" after becoming the third fastest South African to reach the milestone.  

The Proteas paceman claimed 3-70 in Pakistan’s first innings during the series opener in Karachi, with the last of those wickets seeing him get to the notable personal landmark in his international career.  

Hasan Ali was bowled to see Rabada make it to 200 on day three of his 44th Test outing; only Dale Steyn (39) and Allan Donald (42) have managed it in fewer appearances for South Africa.  

He is also the third quickest ever when it comes to deliveries bowled – Waqar Younis and Steyn sit above him on that list – having recorded nine five-wicket hauls and taken 10 in a match on four occasions.  

For Rabada, there remains the appetite within to keep on improving, worrying words for opposing batsmen around the world when you consider he is still just 25. 

"It's just hard work and spending a lot of time on your craft, seeing where you can get better," Rabada told the media about his success in the Test arena. "Analysing it, but not over-thinking it.  

"It hasn't all been easy – you find yourself trying to perfect something that might seem so simple, but it's constant repetition, hours and hours of work, so being relentless with that and trying to see how much better you can get and finding ways."

Asked about being in the same company as compatriot Steyn and Pakistan great Waqar when it comes to balls bowled, Rabada replied: "It's a massive feat to be included in a list of such names.  

"When you start playing you don't ever think that you'd be on such a list and have such statistics. All you want to do is the best that you can. 

"I'm really glad, it's satisfying; it's a great milestone, but the show goes on."

Rabada missed the chance to bring up his 200th wicket on home soil as he did not feature in the recent series against Sri Lanka in South Africa, the Proteas understandably taking no risks with their premier strike bowler upon his return from a groin injury.

It meant his appearance against Pakistan was his first in the format since the third match of the series against England, back in January 2020. 

"Test cricket never gets old, never gets any easier as well – you are constantly challenged," Rabada explained upon his return to duty for his country

"Playing in Pakistan as well, it's quite an amazing place. The only place that I haven't played previously, so I'm glad to have the opportunity to play here.  

"It's been hard work, just like any Test match, especially in the subcontinent where you have to be more patient. It teaches you a lot of lessons and I've been reminded of some of them."

Babar Azam will finally get the chance to lead Pakistan in Test cricket as a two-match series against South Africa begins in Karachi on Tuesday.  

Batsman Babar was appointed to the role last November, yet missed both Tests on the tour of New Zealand, as well as the Twenty20 series that followed, after suffering a fractured thumb during a practice session.  

Mohammad Rizwan took charge in the regular skipper’s absence, though he was unable to prevent Pakistan slipping to a 2-0 defeat against the Black Caps.  

The return of Babar on home soil is a boost, not least because he will bolster a batting line-up that struggled badly in New Zealand.  

Shan Masood has lost his place at the top of the order following a lack of runs, while the Pakistan selectors also left out Haris Sohail and Mohammad Abbas from an initial 20-man squad.  

Opener Imran Butt is set to make his Test debut at the National Stadium, a venue where the home team have lost only one of their last seven Tests, albeit that defeat did come against the Proteas, back in October 2007.  

Both Shadab Khan and Naseem Shah are missing due to injuries, while Abbas' absence from the bowling attack could lead to a recall for Hasan Ali.

As for South Africa, they have arrived fresh from a 2-0 series sweep over Sri Lanka. Quinton de Kock continues in charge, the wicketkeeper-batsman set to play in his 50th Test in the opener. 

The Proteas captain has Kagiso Rabada available again, bolstering a pace attack that performed so impressively against Sri Lanka without him. With Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi and Lutho Sipamla also vying to play, there are a wealth of options when it comes to seam bowling.

However, the balancing act for South Africa will come over whether to select two spinners. Tabraiz Shamsi is the likely option to come into the XI, joining forces with fellow slow bowler Keshav Maharaj. 
 

NO PLACE LIKE HOME 

His absence keenly felt in New Zealand, Babar will be determined to make up for lost time when he goes up against South Africa in his homeland. 

The stylish right-hander has scored 50 or more in each of his four Test innings in Pakistan, including three centuries. His batting average in the country (202.5) is the best by any player in Test history there. 
 

MILESTONES IN SIGHT FOR DE KOCK 

There is the potential for not one but two major milestones for De Kock, who had a relatively quiet series with the bat against Sri Lanka. 

The destructive left-hander is just 38 away from becoming the 16th player to score 3,000 Test runs for South Africa. He equalled his highest Test score (129) in his most recent innings against Pakistan two years ago, too. 


KEY MATCH FACTS

- South Africa have lost only one of their 10 multi-game Test series against Pakistan (W6, D3), that loss coming when they toured Pakistan in 2003 (1-0).

- Lutho Sipamla finished with a bowling strike-rate of 23.9 in the Proteas' most recent Test series (10 wickets against Sri Lanka), the best by any player. 

- Pakistan have lost only one of their last eight Test series on home soil (W5, D2), though that solitary setback came against South Africa (1-0 in October 2007).

- Mohammad Rizwan has scored 50+ in five of his previous six Test innings, having done so only once in his first 11 at the crease in the format.

- Faf du Plessis has faced Shaheen Afridi in three Test innings heading into this series, being dismissed by the Pakistan paceman on each occasion while scoring just 27 runs in response.

Agha Salman, Abdullah Shafique and Kamran Ghulam have been omitted from Pakistan's squad for the first Test against South Africa.

The trio were named in an initial squad of 20 for the opening Test in Karachi, which starts on Tuesday, but did not make the final cut.

With Shafique overlooked, Imran Butt looks set to be handed his debut his debut at the top of the order.

Pakistan were whitewashed 2-0 in their last Test series against New Zealand and are without a win in five matches in the longest format, but head coach Misbah-ul-Haq is optimistic they can turn the tide.

He said: "Understanding how poor we were in the field on our previous New Zealand tour, we have given fielding much importance while preparing [to play the Proteas].

"We are having extraordinary training sessions, with dedicated sessions to bring improvements. We are overall ready and looking forward to taking on South Africa."

Pakistan squad: Abid Ali , Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (captain), Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Yasir Shah, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Tabish Khan.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has no doubts that the Proteas' Test series with Australia will go ahead but accepts that may change due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Proteas and Australia were originally due to start a three-match series next month, but doubts were raised after England cut short a tour of South Africa.

Moving the matches to Perth was also talked of as an alternative if the series could not be staged in South Africa, but the Proteas have since faced Sri Lanka in two Tests on home soil.

CSA is confident South Africa will be able to host Tim Paine's side and, although no dates have been confirmed, it appears the plan is for the series to start early in March.

Zak Yacoob, the CSA interim board chairman, said in a virtual press conference on Thursday: "I had a chat with the chair of Cricket Australia [Earl Eddings] about a week ago and we agreed that the tour is going to go ahead.

"We agreed that we are going to ensure that our facilities are as good as possible, as good as necessary.

"We also agreed we learn every day but that is not on the basis that we did anything wrong when England was here because you know that none of the English were affected. That's the bottom line. They all flew back and that was fine.

"But the learning in relation to this virus changes all the time and as it changes things must change. We agreed that as professionals neither he [Eddings] nor I know anything about this.

"We have doctors, we have experts, who lead us through this process and what we have adopted is an approach that as long as the experts on both sides, true professionals in relation to coronavirus and health, agree that the facilities are fine, we go on the basis that the facilities are fine.

"So far there is between the chair of CA and myself no doubt that the series will go ahead, but we have agreed also that the coronavirus is so changing, that we cannot predict what will happen.

"If things suddenly go down for the worse and we really can't do it and our experts say we can't do it and the other experts say we can't do it, we won't be able to."

South Africa start a two-match Test series in Pakistan on January 26 and also play Three Twenty20 Internationals in their first tour of the country in 14 years.

Rassie Erasmus says South Africa will "explore any option" to ensure they do not miss out on facing the British and Irish Lions.

The Lions are scheduled to lock horns with the world champions in July and August, but the tour is in doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Playing the series in the United Kingdom has been mooted as a potential alternative to the Lions flying out to South Africa.

Delaying the tour until next year could be another alternative and a decision is expected to be made next month, with talks among the Lions board ongoing.

South Africa's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, who who coached the Springboks to Rugby World Cup glory in 2019, says the Webb Ellis Cup holders are willing to be flexible over where and when they take on the Lions.

"We desperately want to play the Lions, and we will do anything to play them," he said in a press conference.

"This series only comes around every 12 years. I have heard the different calls and opinions about the tour, and although we didn't play in the Rugby Championship because of player welfare, it was also because we knew there was this big series in 2021.

"If option one of playing in South Africa doesn't work out, we will go to option Z to make it happen.

"We don't want to lose out on the Lions series, we feel we deserve to play against them. I want to, Jacques Nienaber [Springboks head coach] wants to, the players want to. So from our side, we'll do anything.

"But yes, we will explore any option to play the Lions, we will play next year, we will play over there. This is the view from a player and management perspective."

South Africa hammered Sri Lanka by 10 wickets despite Dimuth Karunaratne's battling hundred to seal a 2-0 series win inside three days in Johannesburg.

Karunaratne was unbeaten on 91 at the close of day two of the second Test with Sri Lanka beginning Tuesday's play at 150-4, but any momentum quickly subsided in a sorry collapse.

The tourists added just 61 more runs and lost their final six wickets for the return of a measly 35, setting the Proteas a meagre target of 67, as Anrich Nortje (2-64), Lungi Ngidi (4-44) and Lutho Sipam (3-40) produced devastating spells with the ball.

Dean Elgar (31) and Aiden Markram (36) steered South Africa over the line with ease in just 13 overs either side of the lunch break to complete a convincing victory.

Karunaratne (103) hit successive fours in the third over of the day as he aimed to help Sri Lanka to a competitive total.

But, having already threatened a couple of times, Nortje (2-64) eventually got the Sri Lanka skipper, his wicked delivery edged into the hands of Wiaan Mulder.

Karunaratne's overnight partner Niroshan Dickwella (36) soon followed, falling to the impressive Ngidi, and the remaining wickets tumbled quickly after that.

Mulder (1-52) dismissed Dasun Shanaka (8), while Sipamla swept up the lower order by taking out Wanindu Hasaranga (16), Dushmantha Chameera (0) and Asitha Fernando (0).

Markram and Elgar, whose first-innings 127 was the highest score of the Test, returned to the crease in a professional mood and hit nine boundaries between them.

The former did have a brief scare when Kusal Mendis appeared to catch him low before the boundary, but the third umpire ruled it not out after replays suggested he grounded the ball, and from there it was plain sailing for the hosts.

Dimuth Karunaratne holds the key to Sri Lanka salvaging the second Test with South Africa as the tourists reached 150-4 at stumps on day two - a second-innings lead of just five runs.

Having collapsed to 157 all out in their first innings, Sri Lanka saw Dean Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen build on their overnight stand of 114.

The pair added another 70, Elgar registering his 13th Test century and Van der Dussen eventually dismissed for 67.

But a maiden five-wicket haul in Tests from left-arm seamer Vishwa Fernando (5-101) in Johannesburg saw the Proteas collapse from 218-1 to 302 all out, denting their hopes of closing out a 2-0 series win.

A heavy defeat still looked the most likely outcome for Sri Lanka when Kusal Perera fell in the third over of their second innings.

Yet captain Karunaratne counter-attacked in thrilling fashion to post 91 at the close and ensure this side hold a slim advantage with six wickets still in hand.

Elgar knocked a Vishwa delivery past point to bring up three figures and at that moment there was little sign of the chaos to follow, with Van der Dussen easing to a half-century.

The opener eventually edged Dushmantha Chameera to first slip as his innings was ended on 127. Van der Dussen followed in short order, deemed to have gloved Dasun Shanaka behind on review.

Lungi Ngidi (3-26) went round the wicket to remove Perera, the seamer going on to account for Lahiru Thirimanne (31) and Kusal Mendis (0).

However, Sri Lanka - who lost Minod Bhanuka to a stunning Keshav Maharaj catch off first-innings tormenter Anrich Nortje - found hope at the top of the innings in the form of Karunaratne, whose 116-ball stay at the crease has so far yielded 17 fours.

Sri Lanka have little room left for error, though, and will hope the skipper and Niroshan Dickwella (18 not out) can guide them towards a total that Vishwa and an on-form attack at least have a chance of defending.

Anrich Nortje claimed career-best bowling figures as South Africa dominated the opening day of the second Test against depleted Sri Lanka in Johannesburg.

Nortje finished with 6-56 as the tourists were dismissed for 157 in just 40.3 overs, with the Proteas already closing in on that below-par total as they were on 148-1 in reply by the close.

Dean Elgar finished up unbeaten on 92, in the process becoming just the 10th South Africa batsman to reach 4,000 Test runs.

The left-handed opener combined with Rassie van der Dussen – who will resume on Monday on 40 not out – to share in an unbroken second-wicket stand worth 114.

Sri Lanka handed debuts to Minod Bhanuka and Asitha Fernando as injuries forced changes to the team that had lost the series opener by an innings at Centurion.

Kusal Perera top scored with 60 from 67 deliveries in their innings but, having made it to 71-1, his dismissal sparked a collapse, a middle order missing Dhananjaya de Silva and Dinesh Chandimal – who both scored half-centuries in the first Test – crumbling.

The visitors lost their final nine wickets for just 86 runs, the impressive Nortje rattling through the tail to claim his second five-wicket haul in the format.

Wiaan Mulder ended the innings with 3-25, including taking two in an over, while the other wicket was picked up by Lutho Sipamla. Despite being passed fit following a groin injury, Kagiso Rabada was not recalled to the team.

Fernando claimed his first Test wicket when Aiden Markram was caught at second slip for five, though that was the solitary success for Sri Lanka's new-look attack.

Elgar hit 16 boundaries to close in on a 13th Test century; he will no doubt be eager to get there on day two, having been dismissed for 95 in the previous match.

Quinton de Kock says he has too much on his plate to be South Africa Test captain on a long-term basis.

The Proteas' white-ball skipper this month agreed to lead his country in the longest format for the 2020-21 season.

De Kock will take on the duties for the encounters with Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia, replacing Faf du Plessis after the batsman stepped down in February.

Wicketkeeper-batsman De Kock ruled out staying on as captain, but is happy to fill in until a full-time successor to Du Plessis is appointed.

"When they [the South Africa selectors] told me the situation that we were in, I understood where they were coming from," De Kock said ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka, which starts on Boxing Day.

"Obviously, I didn't accept it immediately. I did think about it and I understood, it's just for now. For this season. It's not a long-term thing.

"It's just [until] when we get someone who really puts up their hand, they will take over. The guys are looking for a long-term leadership role. I won't be doing that.

"There does seem a lot on my plate but I am quite happy to do it for now."

De Kock revealed he will retain the gloves in Test cricket, so it appears Kyle Verreynne will have to be patient before he is handed a debut.

"I wasn't going to keep in the ODIs against England. We were going to give someone else a chance and now that I am looking after the Test team, we are looking at ways to get a lot of things off my shoulders," De Kock said.

"But in Test cricket, I need to be there as keeper."

Rugby World Cup 2023 hosts France will face New Zealand in the pool phase, while reigning champions South Africa have been paired with Ireland and Scotland. 

France and three-time winners New Zealand are joined in Pool A by Italy, plus qualifiers from the Americas and Africa regions. 

Ireland and Scotland faced each other in the 2019 tournament in Japan and will lock horns again as rivals in Pool B, which also contains the current holders in the Springboks. 

Pool C has a sense of familiarity to it, Wales, Australia and Fiji once again grouped together, as was also the case last year. 

And in Pool D, England coach Eddie Jones will face his former team in Japan plus Argentina, who beat New Zealand for the first time in their history last month.

Twelve teams have so far qualified for the tournament, with eight more to be determined by November 2022.

Tournament organisers will announce fixtures and venues in February 2021.


Pool A: New Zealand, France, Italy, Americas qualifier, Africa qualifier

Pool B: South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Asia/Pacific qualifier, Europe qualifier

Pool C: Wales, Australia, Fiji, Europe qualifier, final qualifier winner

Pool D: England, Japan, Argentina, Oceania qualifier, Americas qualifier

The chair of Cricket South Africa's (CSA) interim board says there was no justification for England to cut short their tour without facing the Proteas in an ODI series.

World champions England flew home on Thursday despite two 'unconfirmed positive' coronavirus cases in the touring party being confirmed as false positives.

The one-day series was initially delayed and then cancelled due to positive tests within the bio-secure bubble.

A South Africa player and two hotel staff members were discovered to have COVID-19, forcing games scheduled for last Friday and Sunday to be postponed before the 'unconfirmed positive' tests in the England party were reported.

Judge Zak Yacoob will not accept that the hosts should take any blame for the ODI series not going ahead on a day it was confirmed Sri Lanka will arrive for two Tests in South Africa - the first of which starts on Boxing Day.

"What I want to negate is an idea that our provision of services was substandard and that there is any justification for the English saying they did not want to participate and go home," the chair of CSA's interim board said in a virtual news conference. 

"The facts are that ultimately, they were negative [test results]. We have gone into our protocols and we think that our protocols have been very good.

"There may have been an issue of psychological troubles. People may have felt nervous about false positives. Our position is that we do not wish to blame the English, but we wish to say absolutely and completely that any notion that they went away because it was in any way our fault, is completely wrong.

"There is an awkward narrative coming out that third world countries can't manage these things properly. I can say we have been managing the virus much better than England."

He added: "Many aspects of the operational side are not working and I don't want to go into details of that because then those in charge of the operational side will start running to the newspapers to say how bad the board is.

Judge Yacoob, however, acknowledges CSA should possibly have imposed stricter rules on the England party.

"The only criticism I can make, and I am not even authorised to make it, is that we were too lax with the English and their desire to do things which in our strict view they shouldn't be doing," he said.

"We were stronger on preventing our players from doing things and we allowed the visitors a little more laxity. There's a courtesy thing, because they are visitors and so on."

England will fly back from South Africa on Thursday after the two unconfirmed positive COVID-19 cases within the white-ball squad were cleared.

The one-day series against the Proteas was initially delayed and then cancelled due to positive tests within the bio-secure bubble.

A South African player and two hotel staff members were discovered to have coronavirus, forcing games scheduled for last Friday and Sunday to be postponed respectively, while there were also a pair of "unconfirmed positives" among the touring party.

However, following further testing and analysis, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed the individuals are not infected and no longer need to self-isolate.

"Following the independent ratification of the two unconfirmed positive COVID-19 tests from the England camp in South Africa, the England and Wales Cricket Board can confirm that, following further testing and analysis, in the opinion of the independent virologists based in Cape Town and London, the two individuals are not infected, and do not pose any risk of passing on the infection to the rest of the party," ECB Chief Medical Officer Professor Nick Peirce said in a statement.

"As such, the advice is they are now free to join the rest of the group and are no longer self-isolating. The England party, returning to the UK, will depart Cape Town on Thursday morning."

England and South Africa did play in three Twenty20 matches prior to the scheduled 50-over games, the tourists sweeping the series 3-0.

England's ODI tour of South Africa has been called off due to concerns around coronavirus.

The opening match of the three-game series last Friday was postponed after a positive test for COVID-19 was returned in the hosts' camp.

Two "unconfirmed" positives within the England party saw the rescheduled match in Paarl cancelled just 30 minutes before its scheduled start time on Sunday.

The second ODI in Cape Town was later postponed as a precaution while players and team management went into self-isolation in their hotel rooms.

It had been hoped that back-to-back ODIs could be played at Newlands in Cape Town on Tuesday and Wednesday before the tourists returned to England on Thursday.

However, on Monday, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed the tour was off "to ensure mental and physical health and welfare of players from both teams".

ECB CEO Tom Harrison said: "We have always maintained that the welfare of our players and management is paramount.

"We were concerned about the potential impact that recent developments might have on the wellbeing of the touring party, and so after consultation with Cricket South Africa [CSA], we have jointly made the decision to postpone the remaining matches in this series, in the best interest of the players' welfare.

"I would like to thank Cricket South Africa for their support and understanding on this matter and look forward to working with them to identify a time when we can return to play these fixtures in the future."

CSA acting CEO Kugandrie Govender said: "The concern over the mental health impact of recent events on all involved is not one that we as CSA or the ECB take lightly, and the decision to postpone the tour is the most responsible and reasonable course of action for us.

"I would like to thank the ECB for the continued positive relations, and we look forward to hosting the England men's team in the near future."

England won the three-match Twenty20 series between the sides 3-0.

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