James Anderson: England 'have to restore pride' in final two Tests amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreak

England trail 3-0 in the Ashes, and the situation off the field has also deteriorated in recent days with multiple staff members testing positive for COVID-19.

After losing by an innings in the third Test to see the Ashes slip away, England may be spared the agony of a 5-0 whitewash thanks to a COVID-19 outbreak in the camp.

England head coach Chris Silverwood was the latest to return a positive result (the first of his tenure), meaning he'll have to isolate for 10 days, with assistant coach Graham Thorpe taking charge of the side in Sydney.

He'll lead a small backroom team, with fast bowling coach Jon Lewis, spin mentor Jeetan Patel and strength and conditioning specialist Darren Veness also among the positive cases in quarantine.

Match referee David Boon will also miss the fourth Test having contracted the virus.

Another round of PCR testing was conducted on Thursday, the fourth batch since the first positive in the travelling party, and if more positive cases are found then it's becoming increasingly likely that the series will be halted completely.

England took part in an optional net session on Thursday morning, where James Anderson spoke about the side's current situation.

"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," he said.

"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."

England with a foothold as James Anderson leads bowlers following Covid scare

With many of the side's staff and coaches out of action, it puts more responsibility on the shoulders of England's experienced players. That includes 39-year-old Anderson, who has embraced the idea of being a leading figure.

"We have to restore some pride and try and compete - that's our main focus as players. We have to block out what's happening off the field and focus on the fourth and fifth Tests," he said.

"It can be difficult at times, especially for guys experiencing the Ashes for the first time who are not that experienced with Test cricket and touring. That's where the more senior players come in, we have to try and rally round, make sure everyone is in a good place and a good head space."

READ MORE: Ponting: England are the worst-performing team I've seen in Australia

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