England have taken the decision to axe their fastest bowler, Mark Wood, from their 12-man squad ahead of the second Ashes Test of the series in Adelaide.
Wood has been omitted for Thursday’s pink ball Test despite being fit to play and impressing during the nine-wicket defeat in Brisbane last week.
Figures of three for 85 did not flatter Wood, who hit a top speed of 94mph at The Gabba, dismissed danger man Steve Smith for just 12 and beat the bat consistently.
Yet he is the man to make way for the returning James Anderson, who is back to lead the attack after sitting out the series opener to build his match sharpness.
Explaining the decision to axe the Durham paceman, Root said: ‘With four Tests coming up in the next four weeks, it is important that we keep our bowling group fresh and ready for each Test.
‘Mark will play a pivotal role in this series and we have to ensure he is fresh and able to perform at his fullest capability.
England squad for second Ashes Test
Joe Root (capt), James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wkt), Haseeb Hameed, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.
‘With three Tests coming up after this one, he will be ready to play his part in the rest of the series.’
The final decision on matchday could come down to Stuart Broad versus Jack Leach again, the same poser England faced last week in Brisbane.
Their decision to go with the spinner’s variety on that occasion proved divisive, not least when he was clubbed for 102 runs in 13 overs, and Broad will be desperate to pick up his 150th cap this time.
‘Jimmy and Stuart have prepped well leading into this Test. They worked hard at Brisbane and have been in good rhythm in the sessions we have had in Adelaide,’ said Root.
‘To have two of our most experienced pairing ready to go for Adelaide, that is a real boost for us especially with the pink ball in play and the match under lights.’
Australia, meanwhile, have been boosted by the news that David Warner has been passed fit to play, but skipper Pat Cummins admits the 35-year-old will need to play through the pain barrier in order to open the batting.
Cummins once again revealed his XI ahead of time, confirming Jyhe Richardson would take over from the injured Josh Hazlewood and confirmed that Warner was inked in despite suffering from sore ribs.
‘If Davey didn’t feel like he could be as good as he normally is, he wouldn’t be playing,’ he said. ‘He’s a little bit sore but he’ll be fine. He batted yesterday with a bit of discomfort but knowing Davey he was not going to miss this once adrenaline and everything kicks in. It’s one thing batting in the nets and a different thing when you walk out and you’ve got a packed crowd.
‘He’s played close to 90 Tests. I’m sure a lot of them have been played in discomfort or with things going into the game, so he’ll be fine tomorrow.
‘It’s not an injury like a broken bone or anything that will get any worse. It just might be a bit of discomfort, but it’s all split second decision making out there so I’m sure that will be fine.’
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