The pitch at Newlands
England and South Africa were due to begin their three-match ODI series on Friday

England’s one-day international series against South Africa will begin on Sunday after the hosts’ players tested negative for coronavirus.

The players were tested again on Friday evening after the match was cancelled and returned negative results.

The series opener will take place in Paarl from 08:00 GMT on Sunday.

The last two games are in Cape Town on Monday and Wednesday.

“The entire Proteas team has returned negative results from the Covid-19 tests that were conducted yesterday evening in Cape Town,” a Cricket South Africa statement read.

This is the first England match to be postponed because of a positive case since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Two unnamed South Africa players tested positive before the Twenty20 leg of the tour last month, forcing the cancellation of a Proteas intra-squad practice game.

South Africa have not named the player who tested positive and they do not know how he contracted the virus.

The players were tested after the three-match T20 series, which England won 3-0.

There have been no fans at any of the matches and the teams have been living in separate, bio-secure areas of hotels near to the grounds.

England managed to complete a full revised home schedule this summer, with no home or opposition players testing positive, although England pace bowler Jofra Archer missed the second West Indies Test in July after breaching bio-secure protocols.

In England’s summer series against West Indies, Ireland, Australia and Pakistan, the squads stayed in on-site hotels at Emirates Old Trafford and the Ageas Bowl, but no such facilities are available at the South Africa venues.

‘Players and hotel staff were tested’ – reaction

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew on BBC Radio 5 Live: “There was a test on Friday night for the South Africa squad and the hotel staff where they are staying.

“We know England were unhappy with the protocols. They felt there had been some breaches during the T20 series, where they are all staying in the same hotel, although they do not mix.

“The long and the short of it is there were no new cases and none amongst the staff, so the series will be able to begin.”

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