Cummins out of Test amid COVID-19 chaos

Australia will be without captain Pat Cummins for the second Ashes Test in Adelaide after the paceman was identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.

Cummins dined at an Adelaide restaurant on Wednesday evening with an individual seated at a neighbouring table testing positive to the virus.

The 28-year-old left the venue immediately and has since returned a negative result from a PCR test, but will be required to isolate for seven days as per SA Health protocols for vaccinated individuals.

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Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon were also present at the same restaurant, but dined at a separate outdoors table. SA Health has deemed the pair as casual contacts, meaning they are free to play.

England will breathe a huge sigh of relief with Cummins ruled out of the Adelaide Test (Getty)

Cricket Australia expects Cummins to be back in the line-up for the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

Cummins' last-minute scratching means vice-captain Steve Smith will lead Australia for the first time since the Cape Town Test in 2018. Travis Head will be the vice-captain.

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Uncapped Queensland paceman Michael Neser, who took seven wickets for Australia A last week against the England Lions, will make his long-awaited Test debut as Cummins' replacement.

With Josh Hazlewood already sidelined due to a side strain, losing Cummins is a major blow to Australia's chances of winning the second Test.

Taylor backs Australia's Warner gamble

"It's not just Cricket Australia's worst nightmare, it's sport's worst nightmare," ex-Australian captain Mark Taylor told Wide World of Sports when asked about Cummins' situation.

"The obvious reaction from some people will be to suggest the players should be in a bubble, but they can't keep doing that forever. It's not good for them and it's not good for the sport."

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