Ashes: Mark Wood sheds light on unusual Adelaide debrief designed to give England ‘kick up the bum’

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 (PA)
(PA)

Mark Wood has shed light on the “brutally honest” dressing-room debrief after England’s Second Test defeat in Adelaide, revealing that management took the unusual step of immediately showing footage of what had gone wrong to give players a “kick up the bum”.

Wood, who bowled well in Brisbane, was a controversial omission in Adelaide, where captain Joe Root was critical of the performance of his batters and the lengths of his bowlers. That criticism has drawn ire from pundits, including Ricky Ponting.

After Root’s comments in the media, the team spoke at length about what went wrong in Adelaide, with vice-captain Ben Stokes among those to speak. Management also showed footage, which would normally be saved for deeper debriefs in the days after a game.

“I think we probably needed it, a brutally honest discussion at the end of the game in the dressing room,” said Wood. “Chris Silverwood spoke, put some footage up at the end of the game. We don’t usually look at footage there and then. Stokesy and Rooty spoke honestly to the group about things we felt weren’t going well and what we’d do better. It was a conversation that isn’t usual for us.

“We obviously review the game, things we could do better, things we’ve done well, but this was more a kick up the bum to say look we are 2-0 down now, the same mistakes keep on happening. It was a good discussion. It could go one of two ways, but people having those brutally honest conversations and accepting that within the group is something I feel like the team are open to and respect, the fact we can speak to each other like that. I think we probably needed it.

Wood said the bowlers had met before the fourth day’s play, when Root was heading to hospital for a scan after taking a blow to the groin, and agreed to bowl fuller. It immediately bore fruit when they created five chances, three of them wickets, in the first hour.

“I remember we had a good discussion as a fast-bowling group early on the fourth morning on the outfield, probably for a good 15-20 minutes,” he said. “Everybody contributed, not just the lads that were playing – myself, Craig Overton. We all had a discussion together and spoke about how in Australia you can’t just throw the ball up there because it’s easier to drive.

“We thought if we can our fields right we can bowl to that plan. So we straightened the field up, made everyone tighter – mid-on, mid-off, extra cover, midwicket – tried to starve the Australians that way and then we created some chances. I know that throughout the game the discussions were going on in the dressing-room about the lengths, it wasn’t just that morning that we suddenly decided that was the right length to bowl.”

Wood seems certain to return to the XI for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

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