Ashes cricket 2021: Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon were one text message away from being withdrawn from Adelaide Test

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Australia lost its Test captain due to a Covid-19 scare this week, but a teammate has revealed the situation could have been much worse.

Australian paceman Mitchell Starc has revealed he was one text message away from being withdrawn from the day-night Test match against England at Adelaide Oval.

On Thursday morning, Cricket Australia announced that captain Pat Cummins would not feature in the second Ashes Test after the bowler was deemed a close contact of a person who had tested positive for Covid-19.

According to reports, Cummins had a brief conversation with the person at the Little Hunter Steakhouse on Wednesday evening and even shook their hand.

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Starc and Australian teammate Nathan Lyon were seated only a few metres away from the person who tested positive, but they were deemed causal contacts because they dined outdoors.

On Thursday, Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley refused to confirm whether the Adelaide Test could have gone ahead if SA Health deemed them to be close contacts as well.

Speaking to reporters at stumps on day three, Starc confessed he and Lyon were “a bit lucky” not to be sitting inside the venue with Cummins.

“It was just fortunate we were sitting outside,” he said. “That was almost a bit of a p*sstake because Pat didn’t reply to our message, so we thought we’d sit away from him and sit outside.

“So it was a bit lucky.”

Starc said he was first made aware of Cummins’ Covid-19 dilemma after returning to the hotel that evening.

“Spinner didn’t sleep,” he said, referring to Lyon.

“I slept quite fine, there wasn’t much I could do about it after.”

Starc and Lyon collectively took seven wickets in the first innings to help restrict England to 236 on day three of the pink-ball Test.

On Friday, the South Australian Government granted Cummins permission to return home to New South Wales on a single charter flight following his Covid-19 scare.

“He will self-drive from isolation and then, with the appropriate PPE and hygiene controls, take a single charter flight,” a CA statement read.

“Cricket Australia will continue to consult with SA Health to ensure compliance with the plan.

“He will continue to observe all isolation requirements in NSW.

“Cummins produced a negative test result on Thursday.”

As reported by Fox Cricket presenter Kath Loughnan, Cummins is currently not obliged to isolate in Sydney because the restaurant he attended is not listed as a “place of high concern” on the NSW government website.

Australia is 1/45 at stumps on day three, leading England by 282 runs. The second Ashes Test will resume on Sunday at 2.30pm local time (3pm AEDT).

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