The re-scheduled first one-day cricket international between South Africa and England was abandoned on Sunday after a new COVID-19 scare.

Cricket South Africa said the England players and management underwent an additional round of tests on Saturday evening after two members of staff at their hotel tested positive for the virus.

The CSA statement said the start of the match in Paarl would be delayed while the England party awaited the results of the tests.

But soon after television coverage started, commentator Mark Nicholas said he had just received news that the match had been cancelled.

No further details were immediately available, but former England captain Mike Atherton, now a commentator and journalist, said he feared the entire series could be under threat.

Atherton said the new positive cases had “ramped up” the concern that the England camp already felt after the opening match, originally scheduled to be played in Cape Town last Friday, had been postponed because one of the South African players had tested positive.

“Certainly this match is off and I would be pessimistic about the other games,” said Atherton.