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The Ashes: England head coach Chris Silverwood to miss fourth Test after family member tests positive for Covid-19

Chris Silverwood must isolate for 10 days, along with his family, in Melbourne after the latest positive case was returned following another round of PCR tests among the touring party; England have so far recorded seven positive cases - three support staff and four family members

Chris Silverwood (Getty Images)
Image: Chris Silverwood must isolate for 10 days in Melbourne

England head coach Chris Silverwood will miss the fourth Ashes Test after a family member tested positive for Covid-19.

Silverwood must isolate for 10 days, along with his family, in Melbourne after the positive case was returned following the latest round of PCR tests among the touring party.

The fourth Test starts in Sydney on January 5, with Australia having already retained the Ashes after taking a 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

England have recorded seven positive cases - three support staff and four family members - since a PCR testing regime was implemented on December 27, during the third Test match.

The three other England coaching staff members currently isolating and unable to make the trip to Sydney along with Silverwood are bowling coach Jon Lewis, spin bowling coach Jeetan Patel and fitness consultant Darren Veness.

The tourists had a fourth round of PCR tests on Thursday. Both teams are due to fly to Sydney on a chartered flight on Friday morning.

England have now lost nine and won just one of their previous 12 Test matches, with Silverwood coming under increased scrutiny as head coach and national selector.

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Assistant coach Graham Thorpe will lead England to Sydney. Match referee David Boon will also miss the fourth Test having contracted the virus, another cause for concern, with his absence confirmed just as a Big Bash League match between Melbourne Stars and Perth Scorchers was called off at the eleventh hour following a confirmed case.

Another round of PCR testing for England was conducted on Thursday, the fourth batch since the first positive in the travelling party, and an all-clear is needed to quell difficult questions about the continuation of the series.

Thorpe took an optional net session at the MCG on Thursday morning, assisted by Ant Botha, with Jimmy Anderson among those in attendance.

James Anderson (Associated Press)
Image: Jimmy Anderson says the England squad have had to deal with a lot of off-the-field issues on their Ashes tour

Anderson hopeful squad can travel to Sydney

James Anderson says England's Ashes squad are crossing their fingers and hoping the Covid-19 outbreak which will see head coach Silverwood miss the fourth Test has not spread any further.

The 39-year-old spoke for the camp as he assessed a fluid situation with some uncertainty.

He said: "We are just hoping it's not spreading any further and we can make sure everyone is safe and able to travel to Sydney.

"We found out late last night (about Silverwood). It's frustrating and we've been tested again this morning, the whole team.

"We are just hoping it's not spreading any further and we can make sure everyone is safe and able to travel to Sydney. We're trying to control the spread as much as possible and use the safety protocols around the hotel.

"It's not ideal but it's been that sort of tour. Something has been happening all the time. Lots of stuff away from the cricket which can cause distractions, so it's something we have to deal with."

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