Joe Root was hit in the abdomen while warming up for the fourth day of the second Ashes Test on Sunday, missing the start of play in yet another setback for England.

After being skittled for 236 in the first innings in response to Australia’s 473 for nine, the visitors are desperately trying to rescue the match in Adelaide. Steve Smith, Australia’s captain, chose not to enforce the follow-on, and his team restarted on 45 for one, hoping to build an unassailable lead. However, Root, the world’s best Test batsman, was not present.

“Joe Root will not be on the field for the start of play today after getting hit in the abdomen during warm-up throw downs,” an England spokeswoman stated. “The England medical staff is now assessing him.”

Root and Dawid Malan (80) were out for 62 in the first innings, precipitating a batting collapse that saw them fall from 150 for two to 236 all out. Day four began amid yet another Covid-19 concern, this time involving a member of the media who tested positive for the virus.

“In accordance with our pre-planning, we are doing a deep clean of the relevant areas and, where required, providing alternative facilities for relevant officials,” Adelaide Oval said in a statement. It comes after Australian captain Pat Cummins was ruled out of the Test after being found to be in close contact with a coronavirus infection. He was first ordered to remain in his hotel room for seven days before being allowed to fly home to Sydney on a private charter airplane.