Mark Wood. A promising player that so far his international career hasn’t taken off due to predominately longer term injury and less match time in 4/5 day formats. He has pace – 90mph+ to be precise and has bounce that can frighten any top order batsman around the world. He has 156 first class wickets at an average of 27.83 and 8 five wicket hauls. His impact for England has come mainly in shorter formats with ODI being his stronger suit. Yet, going into 2019 his place at the Cricket World Cup looks in doubt due to his lack of match time and the better form from the likes of Tom Curran, Olly Stone and David Willey. Speculation before and during the 2017 Ashes series didn’t prove to be the case as he didn’t feature. At the age of 29, Wood’s playing days are shortening due to his various injuries and something needs to click for such a promising player.
His call up to the West Indian Test Series comes as Warwickshire’s Olly Stone flies back home with a stress fracture in his back. Stone has had limited opportunity on the International stage with his debut series coming in Sri Lanka (October 2018) and impressed with his pace and heavy bounce in the ODI series. Wood comes in as a like for like replacement but his lack of match practice in the Test arena might mean he plays as a back up seamer.
However, Wood brings a new dimension to West Indies which England should take advantage of with his old and new ball skills alongside his quick pace which will test the inexperienced West Indies batsmen. Whilst, England might not use Wood to change a winning formula, this will be Wood’s chance to show he can be an England Test fast bowler in a permanent position. He has the attributes but not the performances in the arena to show his worth to the side.
Away from Wood, England will be faced a tricky challenge with West Indies making wholesale changes to fix a losing team. But, England’s impressive form in Sri Lanka most notably with their spinners leaves them favourites in similar away conditions to make it 2 on the bounce.
Wood’s chance has come and he will be sure to make the most of it as his International selection hangs in the jungle. To read more articles cricket related, revisit the site and comment below whether Wood will start in West Indies?
Trent Bridge was the hosting venue for the 3rd ODI where in real life England hammered a world record 481-6 in their 50 overs. They would be hoping to replicate that form in the virtual game with a response required after going 2-0 down in the series. The hosts made 2 alterations with David Malan replacing Joe Clarke in a vice versa switch from the last ODI and under firing seamer Tom Curran being replaced by the experienced Liam Plunkett. Australia remained unchanged for the 3rd successive match as they aimed to wrap up an unlikely series victory.
Stanlake and Richardson opened the bowling attack for the Australians after winning the toss but it was the opening partnership that provided a platform for England. The aggressive manner of Hales bounced off onto Bairstow as both played controlled but attacking shots taking the advantage of the extra pace and the powerplay. Deceptive bowler Tye couldn’t break through the shackles of either batsman as the ball was shot to the legside often. Their 100 run partnership came up after 15 overs and reached the 20th over with 138 on the board. But, the decisive change of Zampa’s field drew Hales into a false trap and was bowled around the legs for 70. Australia were galvanised and under pressure Malan was back to the pavilion after a swift 20 padding in front to Zampa’s googly. Steady Root joined Bairstow at the crease showing a variety of shots whilst Bairstow calmly made his way to his 7th ODI century coming off 115 balls as the pair negotiated each bowling change made by Finch.
Shortly after reaching the ton, Bairstow succumbed to the tempting pressure of increasing the run rate as he attempted an ambitious ramp to Tye. Morgan’s indifferent form was exploited by the intelligent Tye as he lured him into a lofted drive just for the ball to cannon back into the pads for a golden duck. Root’s unusual 100+ strike rate was promising for England but he fell at 5-248 to Jhye Richardson LBW (the 4th out of the top order.) Australia then began to keep the batters under a tight scoring rate with clever off pace deliveries and the occasional bouncer which Stanlake used to dismiss Buttler for 1. Stokes held one end up aiming for the boundary but his support was thin as Richardson had Woakes caught on the boundary for 1 before Rashid fell into Tye’s trap edging behind again for 1.
Stokes finished with a flourishing boundary but an under par last 10 overs brought the Aussies back with the momentum after an impressive and flowing opening partnership between centurion Bairstow and aggressive Hales.
Much like England’s opening pair, the inform duo of Finch and Short repeated their spectacular combinations. Sam Curran and Ben Stokes opened up but swing was in short supply which nullified their threat. 86 runs came from the opening 10 overs as momentum began to roll towards the tourists. Groans from the home crowd were soon silenced as standout bowler Rashid took Short’s wicket for 57 with 11 boundaries in an 117 run partnership. In the same over, Rashid removed Lynn to swing the momentum back towards England and galvanising the crowd. Finch’s free flowing attitude didn’t stagnate as the run rate was maintained in chase of 271. Head never got going and lost his head to a rash shot (mind the puns) as Rashid took his third. Finch and Maxwell joined in an entertaining knock shooting down the bowlers until Finch nicked behind from Woakes for an energetic 79.
When hope seemed brighter for England, a 97 run partnership from Maxwell and leader Paine led the Australians to victory. Paine’s knock in particular showed the class of a middle order batsman with boundary hitting shots combined with simple singles whilst Maxwell played a boundary filled innings completing the contest with a punch down the ground off the expensive Plunkett.
Australia complete the series with 2 games to go in a dominant display of all round quality with each player showing their worth on the field of play. England had their moments but they came in very short supply with Rashid, Root and the opening combo the highlights in a disappointing poor series loss in home conditions. D’Arcy Short led the way for the Australians in his debut series with valuable contributions from all in a real team showing grit, passion and determination.
With two games to go, they will be covered in the same article but be sure to revisit the site to see how the games play out with the options of Handscomb, Care, Marsh and Clive Rose poised to make their mark on the series but also a possible charge back from England?