Vodafone Men's Ashes
Head ruled out of SCG Test with positive COVID-19 result
Australia's leading run-scorer in the series to date returned a positive PCR test, with Maddinson, Marsh and Inglis all called in as additional cover
31 December 2021, 11:57 AM AEST
Australia batter Travis Head has tested positive to Covid-19 following a routine PCR test and will miss the fourth Vodafone Ashes Test at the SCG.
Head is asymptomatic and will remain in Melbourne and isolate with his partner for seven days in line with Victorian Government Health requirements.
The remainder of the Australian squad, their families and the support staff have undergone PCR and RAT tests this morning. Both the Australian and England squads are expected to separately travel to Sydney as planned today.
"As part of our testing procedures, we are PCR testing players, their families and our support staff daily," said a Cricket Australia spokesperson.
"Unfortunately, Travis returned a positive Covid-19 result earlier today. Thankfully, he is asymptomatic at this stage.
"We anticipate that he will be available to play in the fifth Vodafone men's Ashes Test in Hobart."
Head, who is Australia's leading run-scorer in the Ashes to date, with 248 at 62 after a stunning century in the series opener in Brisbane, could be replaced in the side by Usman Khawaja, whom he beat out for a spot in the Australia XI ahead of that Gabba Test.
However, selectors have also added Mitchell Marsh, Nic Maddinson and Josh Inglis to the squad "as a precautionary measure … as additional cover."
The news comes a day after it was confirmed England coach Chris Silverwood would also be absent from the Sydney Test, after the COVID-19 outbreak in the touring team's camp grew to seven.
Silverwood awoke on Thursday to the news that he had been identified as a close contact, after a family member in the touring party contracted the virus.
Australia retained the Ashes in Melbourne after taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
Vodafone Men's Ashes
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Nic Maddinson, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
First Test: Australia won by nine wickets
Second Test: Australia won by 275 runs
Third Test: Australia won by an innings and 14 runs
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, Blundstone Arena