Australia v England – 3rd Test: Day 2
Former England captain Michael Atherton believes fast bowler Mark Wood has been one of the few bright spots on an otherwise forgettable Ashes tour for the visitors. Michael Atherton hailed Mark Wood’s spirited display with the ball and his critical contribution with the bat in the first innings of the ongoing Sydney Test.
Although Wood bowled well in both innings in Sydney, he didn’t have wickets to show for it. The 32-year old has utilized the pace and bounce Down Under perfectly and rattled the Aussie batsmen. He also played an enterprising knock of 39 in the first innings in Sydney.
Writing in his column for The Times, Michael Atherton stated that Mark Wood has been one of the most improved English players on this tour. He lauded Wood’s tireless display every time he got an opportunity. Atherton said:
“Few have enhanced their reputations here, but Wood is one. Australians love a battler. Wood’s evident spirit and spunk has been plain to see in the furious way he has bowled and in his gung-ho batting here that helped England to get beyond the follow-on mark. The circumstances of this difficult tour have not diminished him.”
The Durham paceman, who has eight wickets so far, notably scalped Marnus Labuschagne three consecutive times in the series. The number one Test batter has struggled against Wood, who has bowled wide of the crease against Labuschagne. The ongoing Sydney Test saw him nicking twice to the keeper off Wood’s bowling.
“If Wood plays in Hobart, it will be a testament to his physical conditioning” – Michael Atherton
Michael Atherton. (Image Credits: Getty)
Atherton further stated that tours to Australia are often exhausting; however, he believes Wood’s durability in this series suggests his fitness has improved and builds him for the long haul. The 53-year old added:
“Typically, Australia is a tour that breaks bodies and minds. Who knows what combination they will put out in Hobart, but if Wood plays, it will equal the most he has played in a Test series before and it will be a testament to his physical conditioning. It will also be an indictment of his non-selection in Adelaide when the series was alive.”
England have their task cut out ahead of the fifth Test as Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow have injury concerns. The tourists would need all three to bat on the final day of the Sydney Test to avoid a 4-0 result, chasing an unlikely 388.