• Wed. Mar 3rd, 2021

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Wood hopes pink ball will swing series to England


Durham seamer ready for selection after spell in quarantine; Wood encouraged by the swing on offer from pink ball in nets but is also happy to play an enforcer role if selected in Ahmedabad; paceman says he withdrew from IPL Auction to spend more time with family and stay fresh for England

Last Updated: 19/02/21 2:30pm

Mark Wood and England team-mate Jonny Bairstow have re-joined the squad ahead of the third Test (Pic: ECB)

Mark Wood says England’s seamers are encouraged by the amount the pink ball has been swinging in the nets ahead of the floodlit third Test against India.

The four-Test series is level at 1-1 going into the first-ever day-night Test between the two sides, at the new 110,000-capacity Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.

In total, 56 of the 79 wickets to fall in the opening matches were taken by slow bowlers but 14 months ago India took all 20 wickets with pace to win their only previous day-nighter on home soil, against Bangladesh in Kolkata.

“We’ve been bowling with them in the nets – they have swung quite a bit and they’ve lasted longer which was interesting to see,” said Wood.

“With the ball, as soon as it moves, every one of the bowlers from the past couple of months is dying to get it in their hand. I’m not the only one who’s trying to get hold of it.

“As soon as the ball moves, we know how good our seam bowlers can be. We’ve got good depth there, good skills and two of the best-ever (James Anderson and Stuart Broad). Hopefully, if the ball does move and it is seamer-friendly we can be very confident going into the game.

“The wickets in the nets have been a bit green and had good pace and carry too. I don’t know if that’s anything to go by or whether it’s a bit of a trick.”

Wood is back with the squad after being rested from the first half of the series and ready for selection after a spell in quarantine during which he released a video on Instagram pretending to take part in a swimming club in his hotel bath.

But he is not an automatic selection for the Test with Anderson and Broad in contention to play together for the first time in the series.

Wood also faces opposition from Olly Stone, who impressed in Chennai, as well as Jofra Archer who is expected to be passed fit following an elbow injury and fellow seamer Chris Woakes.

“Being a fast bowler, trying to take wickets is my job and the captain has used me as a bit of a battering ram,” he said.

“It should be the same here because I’ll charge in just the same, but the movement should make it even deadlier. Any sort of movement you can get, at that pace, makes it feel quicker for batsmen and that will be the trick for us.”

Wood also explained his decision to make a late withdrawal from Thursday’s Indian Premier League auction, on the grounds of spending more time with his family and staying fresh for England duty.

Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

“Obviously there have been some big names go for big money and it’s great for them. It’s life-changing money which is why it was such a difficult decision for me,” he said.

“First and foremost, it was for my family. I’m going to spend six weeks here in India and it would have been another eight weeks on top of that. The second reason, of course, is being ready for England.

“I don’t want my body to fail me or be a bit bruised mentally or physically for the back end of the year when it’s the World Cup and Ashes, or in the summer when it’s a big series against India at home. I’m comfortable with my decision and I hope it serves me well.”

Follow text commentary of the day-night third Test between India and England in Ahmedabad on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app from 8.30am on Wednesday.





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