Fifth England-India test cancelled just before scheduled start after COVID-19 case

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The fifth test between England and India at Old Trafford was cancelled barely two hours before its scheduled start on Friday after the tourists failed to field a side following a COVID-19 case in their camp.

India were 2-1 up in the series heading into the final test but the match was thrown into doubt on Thursday after their physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

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“Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team,” the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement.

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The ECB initially said in the statement that India had forfeited the match but later retracted that.

The Indian team did not reveal details of the circumstances that led to their failure to field a side.

It was a tame end to a thrilling series lit up by the sublime batting of England captain Joe Root, who smashed three centuries in the opening three matches, and India’s excellent seam bowling, spearheaded by Jasprit Bumrah.

“This is such a shame - as it’s been a wonderful series!” tweeted Australia spin great Shane Warne.

India head coach Ravi Shastri had tested positive during the fourth test at The Oval and has since been isolating with bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physio Nitin Patel.

England’s tour of South Africa was abandoned in December after a number of positive coronavirus results were reported.

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) beginning on Sept. 19 in Dubai, there was no real prospect of the Manchester test being pushed back.

Read more: Australia to cancel Afghanistan men’s test after Taliban says women’s cricket banned

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