South Africa and England have agreed to postpone Monday's second ODI in Cape Town due to continuing COVID-19 concerns.

The opening match in the three-game series was postponed on Friday after a positive test for COVID-19 in the South Africa camp.

It was rescheduled for Sunday but the game in Paarl was cancelled 30 minutes before the scheduled morning start time, and it emerged there had been two "unconfirmed" positives within the touring England party.

There had been hopes the series could start on Monday, but that will not be happening, and it remains to be seen if it can start at all.

The final two matches of the series had been due to be held in Cape Town on Monday and Wednesday. England are scheduled to fly home on Thursday.

Players and team management have been self-isolating in their hotel rooms.

In a joint statement issued on Sunday evening, CSA and the ECB said: "The second one-day international between South Africa and England, which is due to take place at Newlands, Cape Town, will now not take place on Monday 7 December.

"The decision has been taken by Cricket South Africa [CSA] and the England and Wales Cricket Board [ECB] whilst they await the outcome of the independent ratification of the two unconfirmed positive COVID-19 tests from the England camp and the continued health and wellbeing of both playing groups.

"Once the findings of this review have been received, CSA and ECB will then discuss how best to proceed concerning the remaining two matches of this ODI series."

England won the three-match T20 series between the sides 3-0.

The opening ODI of the series between South Africa and England has been abandoned after two members of the tourists' squad returned unconfirmed positive COVID-19 tests.

Initially scheduled to get under way in Cape Town on Friday, the series was delayed because of a positive test in the South Africa camp.

The first match was moved to Sunday, but proceedings in Paarl never got going as the game was called off 30 minutes before it was due to start.

Earlier the ECB had confirmed the match had been delayed pending the results of additional PCR tests, which players and staff underwent on Saturday after the positive tests by two members of staff at their hotel.

A statement confirming the abandonment read: "The decision was taken after two hotel staff members testing positive for COVID-19.

"As a precaution, the England players and management underwent an additional round of PCR tests on Saturday evening.

"Following the test results, two members of the England touring party have returned unconfirmed positive tests for COVID-19. The players and management are now self-isolating in their rooms until further advice from the medical teams. 

"The medical advice from both CSA and ECB is that the match cannot take place. A decision on the remaining matches in the series will be taken once the results of the tests are ratified independently by medical experts."

The final two matches of the series are due to be held in Cape Town on Monday and Wednesday. England are scheduled to fly home on Thursday.

"We regret that we are unable to play in today’s ODI, but the welfare of the players and support staff is our primary concern and whilst we await the results of further tests the medical advice from both teams was that this game should not take place," said England director of men's cricket Ashley Giles.

"We remain in constant dialogue with Cricket South Africa and will continue to work closely with them to determine how best to move forward."

England won the three-match T20 series between the sides 3-0.

 

England's opening one-day international against South Africa on Friday has been postponed after a player from the host team tested positive for coronavirus.

Eoin Morgan's side had been due to play the Proteas in the first of three ODIs at Newlands but the match was called off an hour before play was due to start.

The first fixture will now take place on Sunday at Boland Park, with the second and third ODIs at Newlands next Monday and Wednesday respectively.

A statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board said: "The ECB and Cricket South Africa have announced the postponement of the first one-day International of the three-match series to Sunday, December 6.

"This decision results from a player from the Proteas team testing positive for COVID-19 after the teams’ last round of scheduled testing performed on Thursday ahead of the ODIs.

"In the interests of the safety and well-being of both teams, match officials and all involved in the match, the acting chief executive of CSA, Kugandrie Govender as well as the chief executive of the ECB, Tom Harrison, have agreed to postpone the first fixture to Sunday."

England beat South Africa 3-0 in the recent three-match T20 series.

England wrapped up victory in the Twenty20 series against South Africa with a game to spare in Paarl thanks to a second successive last-over triumph.

Having overhauled the Proteas' total of 179-6 with four balls in hand in Friday's opener in Cape Town, England managed to reach a target of 147 from the penultimate delivery on Sunday.

A slow, low surface made batting difficult for both teams, though Dawid Malan played a crucial knock of 55 from 40 deliveries in the successful chase as England earned a four-wicket win.

The left-hander hit a six and seven fours as he overcame a sluggish start - he managed just 25 runs from his first 30 balls - to perfectly pick up the pace in the closing overs, putting on 51 for the fifth wicket with Eoin Morgan.

Lungi Ngidi (2-51) dismissed Malan courtesy of a stunning catch by Reeza Hendricks on the boundary, though England still managed 18 from that 18th over, leaving them with a simple requirement at the finish.

Chris Jordan struck the winning blow off Kagiso Rabada as captain Morgan finished unbeaten on 26, able to celebrate a 30th T20 victory during his time in charge of the team.

Tabraiz Shamsi claimed 3-25 for South Africa on a pitch that helped the spinners, Adil Rashid having picked up 2-24 earlier as England restricted their hosts to 146-6.

Rashid dismissed Hendricks and Faf du Plessis with successive deliveries – the latter stumped for the first time at international level in the format - to become only the fourth man to reach 50 T20 wickets for England.

There was also a notable milestone for team-mate Jordan too, as Quinton de Kock (30) became his 65th wicket in T20 internationals, putting him joint-top on England's all-time list, alongside Stuart Broad.

George Linde made a lively 29 off 20 balls but South Africa struggled to break the shackles. They will aim to avoid suffering a 3-0 series sweep when the teams meet again for the third and final game on Tuesday.

Jonny Bairstow hit his highest Twenty20 International score as England defeated South Africa by five wickets in the first game of their three-match series.

Faf du Plessis got 58 as South Africa posted a competitive total of 179-6 after England won the toss and elected to bowl at Newlands on Friday.

A successful run chase was looking unlikely for the tourists by the time they fell to 34-3 in the sixth over, but Bairstow scored 86 not out from just 48 balls in a superb innings.

After dropping down to number four in the order, Bairstow hit nine fours and four sixes, sealing victory with four deliveries to spare with a huge maximum.

Ben Stokes (37) provided good support as England took a big step towards winning a third consecutive T20I series against South Africa, who are playing their first international cricket since March.

The second match is in Paarl on Sunday before the series concludes back in Cape Town next Tuesday.

CAPTAIN AND FORMER SKIPPER SET UP PROTEAS

England made a good start with the Proteas only mustering 12 runs from the first three overs.

But a six from captain Quinton de Kock off Jofra Archer (1-28) sparked 38 runs in just two overs to kick-start the South Africa innings and he went on to build a partnership of 77 with former skipper Du Plessis.

Chris Jordan (1-40) ultimately removed De Kock for 30 and then claimed a catch at deep square leg to end the 40-ball innings of Du Plessis.

But by that point South Africa were 110-3 and a platform had been set for Rassie van der Dussen (37) to keep up the pace.

BAIRSTOW BOOSTS ENGLAND

Stokes made an astonishing Test-best 258 in Cape Town in January 2016 and Bairstow also shone in that game, scoring a maiden Test ton.

The duo impressed again by putting on a crucial 85 partnership, but Bairstow still had plenty to do when Stokes holed out to long on off the bowling of Tabraiz Shamsi (1-27).

After Eoin Morgan (12) made a slow start, England suddenly needed 55 from 25 but Bairstow hit six of his side's eight boundaries from there in an impressive finish.

LINDE AND SAM CURRAN IMPRESS

It was a good T20I debut for South Africa's George Linde, who hit a quickfire 12 from six balls with the bat before taking 2-20, including the early wicket of Jason Roy (0), plus a key catch to remove Stokes.

While Tom Curran (1-55) struggled, Sam was the pick of the England bowlers, with figures of 3-28 from his four overs and the crucial wicket of Du Plessis.

He later hit a six with the bat in the penultimate over to help settle the tourists' nerves after Morgan's dismissal.

Eoin Morgan is unsure of England's best side ahead of the Twenty20 International series against South Africa with the luxury of having such strength in depth.

The tourists and the Proteas start at three-match T20 series at Newlands on Friday, less than a year before they go in search of T20 World Cup glory in India.

England have taken a star-studded squad to South Africa, with Morgan among a strong contingent to have recently plied their trade in the Indian Premier League.

The in-form batsman, who led England to World Cup glory in the 50-over format last year, feels fortunate to have so much talent to call upon.

"The honest answer is we don't know our best 11 yet," Morgan said. "There are probably seven or eight guys who are pretty strong candidates to be in our playing 11, but the strength of the squad that we've selected, and the reserves that we have here, has made our full-strength side available for selection for the first time in a long time. That makes it very exciting.

"Winning at the moment would be great, but the process of going through what's best for our team and best for our players, to try and beat the opposition is extremely important," he added.

South Africa also have star men coming into the series, which is their first since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, on the back of outstanding performances in the IPL.

They will be without two unnamed players who are self-isolating, but in good health, after testing positive for COVID-19 and South African cricket has been in the headlines far too often due to administration issues.

Yet Proteas skipper Quinton de Kock said: "It's a fresh start. The guys are keen to play. It's been a while since we've played for the Proteas.

"The guys are keen to change what has been going on around cricket. We're the leaders and we'll try to lead from the front. The guys are keen to get going."

South Africa will be without all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius due to a hamstring injury.


DE KOCK, RABADA AND ARCHER HOPING TO REPEAT IPL EXPLOITS

Wicketkeeper-batsman De Kock will be on a high after playing a big part in another IPL triumph for the Mumbai Indians.

He was the sixth-highest run-scorer in a thrilling tournament with 503 at an average of 35.92 at the top of the order, making four half-centuries and smashing 22 sixes.

Proteas paceman Kagiso Rabada was the leading wicket-taker in the competition for beaten finalists Delhi Capitals, claiming 30 scalps at 18.26 apiece.

England quick Jofra Archer also showed he is one of the best bowlers in the world, striking 20 times and showing his ability to be classed as an all-rounder with some entertaining knocks.

South Africa fast bowler Anrich Nortje also impressed in the United Arab Emirates along with Faf du Plessis and England skipper Morgan.

 

STOKES PRIMED FOR ANOTHER CAPE TOWN CLASSIC?

England all-rounder Ben Stokes arrived late at the IPL, having been given time to spend time with his family in New Zealand after his father, Ged, was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Stokes made the second-highest score of the tournament with a magnificent 107 not out from only 60 balls to seal a stunning victory for the Rajasthan Royals over champions Mumbai.

He returns to England duty after leaving the squad to head to New Zealand during the Test series against Pakistan in August and will be back in action at a world-famous venue where he produced one of his finest performances.

Stokes made an astonishing Test-best 258 off 198 balls in a drawn second Test in Cape Town in January 2016, smashing the Proteas attack to all parts.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS 

- The tourists are looking to secure a third successive T20 series win over the Proteas, having beaten them earlier this year and in 2017.
- England have won five of their last seven games against South Africa in the shortest format.
- South Africa have won both of their T20 matches against England at Newlands, but have come out on top in only 33 per cent of all matches at the venue in the shortest format.
- England have the lowest catching success rate of any Test-playing nation in T20s since the start of 2019 (76 per cent). 
- Only Pakistan captain Babar Azam (53 – 25 innings) has a higher batting average as an opener in T20Is than England's Jos Buttler (51 – 11 innings) among those to record 10 or more knocks at the top of the order. Buttler has posted scores of 57, 44 and 77 not out in his last three T20 appearances, all of which came as an opener.

Paceman Kagiso Rabada has compared South Africa's bio-secure environments to "luxury prisons" but says it is important they retain perspective about their privilege. 

The South Africa squad are staying in carefully controlled accommodation ahead of their Twenty20 international series against England amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

While Rabada admits it has proved challenging, he says he is constantly reminding himself of the fortunate position he and his team-mates find themselves in. 

"It can be quite tough," he told ESPNcricinfo. "You can't interact. You've basically lost your freedom. 

"It's almost like luxury prisons we are in. But we have to remind ourselves that we are fortunate.

"People have lost their jobs, people are struggling at the moment, so we must be grateful for the opportunity we have been given to make some money and to do what we love.

"And we don't get treated too badly. We stay in great hotels. We get the best food. It's like a spoilt kid not getting what they want at the candy store. It can be quite tough because you are surrounded by four walls the whole time and that can be a factor mentally.

"But just remind yourself of all the good things that are happening and once we start playing, it will take away from the desolate times."

Rabada has recently returned to South Africa after an impressive stint in the Indian Premier League, where he finished as the top wicket-taker. 

That followed a long period in his home country without playing cricket, having spent most of 2020 in some form of lockdown imposed by the South African government. 

Rabada says the break helped him reset both physically and mentally but does not expect to have similar periods off in the future. 

"The break helped to refresh the body and to take the mind off of a lot of things," he added. "But I don't know if long extended breaks will happen in future because cricket is getting more and more. 

"I'm not sure how much of it is due to a long break, but I don't think it will happen a lot in the future. I don't think we will get breaks that long unless we get Covid-20."

The three-match Twenty20 series starts in Cape Town on Friday, while the Proteas and England will also contest a three-match ODI series after competing in the shortest format.

South Africa will not take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement during their limited-overs series against England, head coach Mark Boucher has confirmed.

The Proteas will be in action for the first time since March when they host England in three Twenty20 matches and a trio of ODIs from November 27.

South Africa's elite cricketers wore Black Lives Matter armbands and took a knee prior to a 36-over charity match branded 3TeamCricket in July – the first live game in the country after the sport was placed on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Flags will fly at half-mast during the opening T20 at Newlands and the second match at Boland Park to coincide with five days of national mourning for victims of COVID-19 from November 25 to 29 declared by South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Boucher said the Proteas will not take a knee versus England because they hope to aid the fight against racism through lived experience instead of such gestures.

"I have spoken to the guy [Lungi Ngidi] who was driving the whole movement within our set-up, he is pretty happy that we have done what we needed to do, in particular at that [3TC] game," said Boucher.

"There are a couple of other issues that our president has raised going forward with regards to gender-based violence and the victims of COVID. We are going to be addressing this with the team so if there is a black armband to wear, we will probably be wearing it because of the president's call.

"It's an ongoing thing for us. It's not something that we have to continue to show, it's something that you have to live. That is exactly what we are trying to doing our dressing room at the moment with a big squad.

"If the guys who brought it up are happy with it, that's great, but if they feel we have to do more, that will be a chat and they are open to express their opinions.

"Our new value system is about respect, empathy and belonging and all of those lead to an environment where guys feel free and open to talk about these hard issues.

"They've certainly got the support and respect and empathy from every other player."

Cricket South Africa confirmed on Wednesday that three members of the squad were self-isolating after a player tested positive for COVID-19 prior to entering a bio-secure environment in Cape Town.

Three members of the South Africa squad are self-isolating after one player tested positive for coronavirus ahead of the Twenty20 International series against England.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Wednesday revealed an unnamed Proteas player returned a positive COVID-19 test prior to entering a bio-secure environment in Cape Town.

He was placed in immediate isolation along with two team-mates, who were considered to have come into close contact with the player based on the risk assessment undertaken by the medical team.

The trio are asymptomatic and will be monitored by CSA's medical team as South Africa prepare for a three-match T20 series, which starts at Newlands on November 27.

A CSA statement said: "Cricket South Africa [CSA] can confirm that approximately 50 COVID-19 PCR tests were performed on players and support staff prior to entering the Bio-Safe Environment in Cape Town for their upcoming limited-overs tour against England. The testing is in line with fulfilling the organisation's obligation and commitment to its duty of care to its team and to the broader public in controlling the spread of the virus. 

"One player has returned a positive test result and two players were considered close contacts based on the risk assessment undertaken by the medical team. All three players have been placed in immediate isolation in Cape Town as part of the COVID-19 protocols. While all players are asymptomatic, CSA's medical team will monitor them to ensure their health and well-being. 

"At this stage, none of these players will be replaced for the tour, but two replacement players will be included into the squad for the purposes of the inter-squad practice matches that will be played on Saturday, 21 November 2020."

The Proteas and England will contest a three-match ODI series after competing in the shortest format.

Uncapped seamer Glenton Stuurman has been named in South Africa's white-ball squads to face England.

Stuurman, 28, was on Friday among given a first international call-up for three Twenty20 matches and as many ODIs across November and December.

Paceman Kagiso Rabada would have missed an ODI series against India that ended up being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic due to a groin injury but will face Eoin Morgan's side.

Fellow quick Junior Dala is also fit again and has been included in a 24-man squad.

The Proteas and Eoin Morgan's side start the T20 series behind closed doors at Newlands on November 27 and the first ODI will be staged on December 4.

Newly appointed convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang said: "We're very excited to be announcing this squad.

"With the bio-secure environment where movement in and out of the squad will be limited, we had to make sure that we have all our bases covered with the 24 players.

"It also gives the team the opportunity to play some intra-squad games just to make sure that they sharpen up those white-ball skills before the series start."

 

South Africa squad:

Quinton de Kock (captain), Temba Bavuma, Junior Dala, Faf du Plessis, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Janneman Malan, David Miller,  Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, JJ Smuts, Glenton Stuurman, Pite van Biljon, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne.

World champions South Africa are set to remain in the Rugby Championship until at least 2030 despite the suggestion they could join the Six Nations. 

Speculation around the future of the Springboks in the international tournament has increased in recent months. 

Holders South Africa withdrew from this year's Rugby Championship amid complications linked to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving Australia, New Zealand and Argentina to play a three-team tournament. 

This followed South Africa's vote to withdraw domestic clubs from Super Rugby and begin talks over a move to Europe's Pro14. 

But SANZAAR, which organises both the Rugby Championship and Super Rugby, said on Wednesday all four of its nations - including South Africa - had "committed to an international rugby future through to 2030". 

The Rugby Championship will change from a six-match to 12-match structure, allowing all four teams to play each other home and away through the new mini-tour match schedule.

The move would appear to end any imminent Springboks move to link up with England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France and Italy. 

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux said: "We welcome the changes announced to the Rugby Championship with our SANZAAR partners and we are looking forward to seeing what the new strategic plan for the competition entails, with possible international expansion on the cards. 

"Although we had to change our domestic focus, we still have a long history with the All Blacks and Wallabies as well as a long-standing friendship with the Pumas and we look forward to more world class Test rugby. 

"Ever since the Tri-Nations was first contested in 1996, and more recently the Rugby Championship from 2012, a team from the Southern Hemisphere has won the Rugby World Cup five out of six times - which is testimony to the high quality of Test rugby played on this side of the equator."

World champions South Africa have withdrawn from the 2020 Rugby Championship in Australia, prompting the return of a Tri-Nations tournament.

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) cited factors including travel restrictions, player welfare, safety concerns and the ongoing effect of the coronavirus pandemic for pulling out.

The Springboks' absence leaves Australia, New Zealand and Argentina to challenge for this year's title.

It is a blow ahead of the tournament, and means the Tri-Nations returns eight years after Argentina joined to extend the competition to a four-team event.

SARU chief executive Jurie Roux said: "SANZAAR [the competition organisers] and Rugby Australia have bent over backwards to make the tournament happen and it would have been unfair on them and their partners and state government to delay a decision any longer.

"This is a hugely disappointing outcome for supporters and commercial partners but the ongoing impacts of the pandemic in multiple dispensations mean we are unable to deliver a Springbok team without seriously compromising player welfare, apart from other logistical challenges."

With a Tri-Nations return, six international matches will be played in Australia across six consecutive weekends.

The Tri-Nations will see each nation play each other twice, with games to be held in Sydney, Brisbane and Newcastle – starting on October 31 between the Wallabies and All Blacks at ANZ Stadium.

The first two matches involving Australia and New Zealand double up as the final two Bledisloe Cup matches.

SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos said: “COVID is just a gift that keeps on giving! Naturally, it is extremely disappointing that the Springboks, due to the continued complexities of operating in and around this COVID environment, cannot fully compete in the previously planned six-round Rugby Championship.

“That said, this now presents us with a unique opportunity, in this our 25th year, to close off 2020 with a Tri-Nations competition."

South Africa have been given a 48-hour deadline to decide whether they will compete in the Rugby Championship.

The Springboks are due to start the defence of their title against Argentina at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on November 7.

Rugby South Africa (RSA) last week said "several hurdles needed to be cleared" before the organisation can confirm that the world champions will feature in the four-nation competition.

Concerns have been raised over a lack of playing time for South Africa players due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tournament organisers SANZAAR on Wednesday stated that a decision must be made within two days.

A SANZAAR statement said: "The SANZAAR member unions have agreed to provide South Africa Rugby with an additional 48 hours to finalise its internal stakeholder discussions.

"This will now delay the scheduled departure of the Springboks from South Africa to Australia.

"SANZAAR will provide an update on the resolution of these discussions and a timetable for the Springboks participation in the Rugby Championship when available in the coming days."

New Zealand will not have to quarantine over Christmas after their second Rugby Championship meeting with Australia was brought forward.

The All Blacks were scheduled to face the Wallabies in Sydney to close out the six-week tournament, which was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic, on December 12, meaning that after returning to New Zealand they would still be in a 14-day period of self-isolation on Christmas Day.

However, SANZAAR and tournament hosts Rugby Australia have rescheduled the Bledisloe Cup Test, which will now open the tournament in Sydney on October 31.

South Africa's second Test against Argentina will still be played on December 12 but has been moved from ANZ Stadium to Newcastle's McDonald Jones Stadium.

"This year has been a year of continued adjustment where the SANZAAR partners have had to compromise on a number of levels," said SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos.

"It is important to further acknowledge the sacrifice of a number of the players and team management that will have been away from home for close to six months by the time the Rugby Championship has concluded. This is again a testament to the strong values that encompass our game.

"The 12-match Rugby Championship is now all set for kick-off. The Argentina Pumas have already arrived in Australia and we all look forward to an exciting and vibrant tournament that will undoubtedly showcase the best of southern hemisphere rugby."

Rugby Australia's interim chief executive Rob Clarke added: "I'm pleased this draw is now resolved and that the SANZAAR joint venture has reached a suitable compromise.

"Each party has had to sacrifice something, and I think that is a true indication of the strength of the SANZAAR alliance."

Rugby Australia has vowed to do "everything in its power" to find a "reasonable resolution" after New Zealand Rugby (NZR) refused to rule out boycotting the Rugby Championship.

NZR on Thursday stated it had not agreed to a schedule that is due to see the All Blacks play their last match of a six-week tournament on December 12, which would leave the players in quarantine for Christmas.

Mark Robinson, the NZR chief executive, said the fixture list broke a commitment from Rugby Australia and governing body SANZAAR for the All Blacks to play their final game of the competition on December 5 - enabling them to spend the festive period with their families.

Rugby Australia interim chief executive Rob Clarke says there is ample time to reach an agreement over the scheduling and is confident the four-team competition will be a success.

Clarke said: "For absolute clarity - on two formal occasions - Rugby Australia was supportive of altering the draw so that the Rugby Championship could be played over five weeks.

"On both occasions, that proposal was rejected which means there was never an agreement to finish the tournament on Saturday 5 December 2020.

"That being said, no one wants players and team management to be away from their families and in quarantine over Christmas."

Clarke added: "Rugby Australia will do everything in its power to help assist New Zealand Rugby and the team in finding a reasonable resolution, and in urging them to exhaust every possible alternative.

"There are still more than two months to go before December 12 so we have plenty of time to find a solution.

"We will continue to work with New Zealand Rugby and support them however we can, just like we are doing with the Springboks and Argentina in assisting with their travel plans, as well as making their stay in Australia as safe and as comfortable as possible during the tournament.

"There have been a number of sacrifices made by each of the SANZAAR joint venture partners to get this far and I want to thank all of them for their flexibility and adaptability.

"There is obviously a lot to achieve in the coming months but I'm confident that under the leadership of each of the joint venture partners, that the 2020 Rugby Championship in Australia will be a great success."

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