England's Curran out of fourth India test

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Third International Twenty20 - South Africa v England

(Reuters) - England all-rounder Sam Curran will not be available for the fourth test against India due to travel complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's cricket board (ECB) said on Thursday.

Curran, who was rested for the first two matches, was due to fly to Ahmedabad in time for the fourth test, which begins on March 4, but will instead arrive with the limited-overs squad.

"Originally it was planned the Surrey all-rounder would fly to Ahmedabad in time to be available for the fourth test in the city," the ECB said in a statement.

"However, in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, making secure arrangements for such a journey proved too great a logistical challenge."

Jonny Bairstow, who along with Curran and Mark Wood was rested following the 2-0 sweep in Sri Lanka, will return for the third test, a day-night game which begins in Ahmedabad on Feb. 24.

The 31-year-old was left out of England's test central contract list last year, but hopes a strong performance against India will put him back in contention.

"There is a reason why I went to Sri Lanka, a reason why I am here in India. I want to play test cricket and hopefully by doing well be rewarded by earning my red-ball contract back," Bairstow told reporters.

"We are fortunate enough to be playing cricket for a living but naturally you want to be doing it and being paid what other players are. That's above my station - I don't need to get into that stuff, I need to concentrate on scoring runs."

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)