Ashes 2023: First 20 balls to Steve Smith are very important, says Mark Wood

By India Today Sports Desk: Mark Wood, the fiery English pacer, has been an incredible addition to the England side in the ongoing Ashes series. His exceptional performance with both bat and ball at the Headingley Test match earned him the Player of the Match accolade. Wood’s relentless pace and aggression on the field have been instrumental in England’s fightback in the series.

In the Headingley Test, Wood showcased his all-round skills by picking up seven wickets and making crucial contributions with the bat, scoring rapid 24 and 16* in two innings. His performance was pivotal in England’s thrilling three-wicket victory over Australia that kept them alive in Ashes 2023

Wood’s fiery spell on day three of the fourth Ashes Test further underscored his importance to the team. His hostile bowling restricted Australia to 113/4 in their second innings, putting England in a commanding position to level the series.

Ashes 2023, 4th Test: Day 4 Live

Speaking about his performance where he completed 100 Test wickets, Wood said that it was a very proud moment for him.

“Very proud moment, my family were in the crowd and I am delighted that I managed to get there. Feels like we have a good experience in the group and feels good to join an elite group of bowlers. I’m pleased I could get there but I hope I have a few more in the tank today,” Wood told BBC ahead of Day 4 of the Test match.

Wood was crucial to England’s success on Day 3 of the 4th Test, removing the mercurial Steve Smith in the final session of the match.

“We look at all the players, not just Steve Smith. Maybe with Smith I try harder because he is such a good player, so you’re desperate to get his wicket. He’s a key player for their team, so you’re trying really hard to get rid of him. My first 20 balls to him are key, I’m trying to make an impact early and change the game for the team,” Wood spoke about his strategy against Steve Smith.

The English pacer also revealed how Ben Stokes, the captain of the England Test team, has asked him to bowl short and sharp spells to create opportunities for wickets.

“Stokes has asked me to bowl those short and sharp spells and try to make something happen. He’s not worried about the runs I go for, just trying to attack. We sometimes try to keep it tight and then other times just attack,” Wood said.

Despite his impressive performances, Wood remains focused on the task at hand and is not looking too far ahead.

“I wouldn’t look that far ahead at the minute, I was pleased I managed to get here, it’s a big tick for me. I have got a poor injury record but in these two games I’ve given it everything I’ve got. Most importantly, we need to get over the line in this game. Big wickets to get here. Australia have got a big batting line up so if I get them, then we can look ahead,” he concluded.

Mark Wood’s performances in the Ashes series have been a testament to his skill, determination, and resilience. As England gears up for the remaining matches, Wood’s role will be crucial in their quest to reclaim the Ashes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *