England vs India: Saqib Mahmood and Craig Overton battling to replace Mark Wood for Third Test

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Saqib Mahmood is the favourite to replace Mark Wood for England  (Getty Images)
Saqib Mahmood is the favourite to replace Mark Wood for England (Getty Images)

England are weighing up the final place in their XI for the Third Test against India at Headingley on Wednesday, with Craig Overton and Saqib Mahmood vying to replace Mark Wood.

Mahmood’s extra pace makes him the favourite to play on what England are expecting to be a slow pitch.

Any prospect of the surface quickening up on Tuesday were fading with thick cloud setting in.

Overton has a superior first-class record, is a better batter and has the experience of four Tests, with the last coming two years ago against Australia at Old Trafford.

Mahmood is a more like-for-like replacement for Wood, who this week joined an England absentee list already containing Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes.

Barring a last-minute change of heart, there will be two changes to the England XI, which in a time of remarkable selection turbulence represents relative stability.

Dom Sibley has been dropped, with Dawid Malan coming in at No3 and Haseeb Hameed shifting up to the top of the order alongside Rory Burns.

Malan last played Test cricket in 2018, when he was dropped against India for Ollie Pope, who he is now keeping out of the side.

Wood is expected to return for the Fourth Test at the Kia Oval next week, while Woakes is also a possibility, having taken three wickets for Warwickshire’s second team. The concern is how he pulls up after bowling.

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