England’s Mark Wood ready to ‘give everything’ if handed recall for third Test

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  • Chris Silverwood
    English Test and county cricketer (born 1975)
  • Mark Wood
    Mark Wood
    English cricketer (born 1990)
  • Joe Root
    Joe Root
    English cricketer (born 1990)

Mark Wood took England’s decision to leave him out in Adelaide on the chin but is fired up for the chance to lead an Ashes fightback in the Boxing Day Test.

Wood’s ability to consistently hurry the Australian batters at speeds of more than 90mph was one of the bright spots in the series-opening defeat at The Gabba and he was badly missed after being rested for the following match.

Captain Joe Root and head coach Chris Silverwood must have regretted leaving Wood on the sidelines as a five-man attack of steadier-paced seamers struggled to trouble the hosts on the way to a 275-run defeat.

Wood made a strong start to the series in Brisbane.
Mark Wood made a strong start to the series in Brisbane (Jason O’Brien/PA)

It is a racing certainty that they will correct their error in Melbourne, restoring the 31-year-old for one of the biggest occasions in the cricket calendar, with around 70,000 festive fans expected.

Reflecting on his enforced breather, Wood toed the line but made it clear he felt ready for action having working hard to banish his previous fitness issues.

“I accepted the decision, you know,” he said. “That’s for the captain and coach and I respect them both a lot.

“They’ve made good calls for me, bad calls for me, but they talked me through why it was happening, what they thought and their ideas.

“I have managed to play back-to-back Tests in the last couple of years – that’s something I’ve worked hard at with my fitness and things like that. There have been times where I’ve broken down, but I’ve tried my best to make them less and less.

“I was ready to go if required for the game, but the decision was made that I would be left out. We’re all part of a team here that’s trying to win the Ashes, so if that was the best decision for the team, that was fine.

“The lads who weren’t playing supported the lads at Brisbane really well, so it was my job to support the lads as best I could.”

His job at the MCG will be considerably different. This time, rather than running drinks and offering pep talks, the Durham quick will be asked to bend his back, spook a top order that has scored far too freely and somehow inspire an England side who badly need to reframe the narrative of the tour.

  • 1st Test, Brisbane: Aus won by 9 wkts

  • 2nd Test, Adeliade: Aus won by 275 runs

  • 3rd Test, Melbourne: Dec 26-30

  • 4th Test, Sydney: Jan 5-9

  • 5th Test: Hobart: Jan 14-18

It is an invitation England will not need to make twice.

“It’s a huge occasion. If I do get the nod in Melbourne, that’s something you can say is special in your life,” he said.

“I can tell my son one day that I got up in front of that many people in a massive sporting occasion with everything on the line, and if that’s the case then I’ll give everything I’ve got, 100 per cent, charging in, trying to get us the right result to get us back in the Ashes.

“I’m a proud Englishman and want to represent England as much as I can.”

Joe Root had some hard words for his players in Adelaide.
Joe Root had some hard words for his players in Adelaide (Jason O’Brien/PA)

Wood also offered a little more detail on the dressing-room dressing down that took place in the aftermath of the last Test. Root and Silverwood have both hinted that tough conversations were had, and Wood had his own way to describe the scene.

“We obviously review the game – things we could do better, things we’ve done well – but this was more a kick up the bum,” he said.

“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 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.

“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.

“We’re coming under a bit of fire at the minute for batting and bowling because we are getting soundly beaten.”

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