Australia captain Pat Cummins has been ruled out of the second Ashes Test after coming into close contact with a positive coronavirus case.
The dramatic development emerged just hours before the start of the pink-ball match in Adelaide, leaving the hosts scrambling to replace their skipper.
Cummins went for an evening meal in the city, in line with the team guidelines, and was sat close to an individual who was found to be carrying the virus.
Steve Smith will lead the side for the first time since he resigned as captain in the aftermath of the 2018 sandpaper scandal.
Michael Neser steps up for his Test debut, joining Jhye Richardson and Mitchell Starc in an attack that had already lost Josh Hazlewood to a side strain.
A Cricket Australia statement read: “Pat Cummins has been deemed a close contact of a person who received a positive Covid-19 test last night.
“SA Health has confirmed that Cummins is a close contact and will be required to isolate for seven days. As a consequence, Cummins is unavailable to play in the second Vodafone men’s Ashes Test match in Adelaide, starting today. Cummins is understandably very disappointed.”
Cummins wrote on Twitter: “Gutted to miss this Test but really excited to see Neser finally get his chance in the baggy green. He has done the hard yards and is a seriously skilful player. Super frustrating but COVID has thrown us all some curve balls over the last couple of years. Will be cheering along!”