Former England captain and Sky Sports cricket expert Nasser Hussain reflects on England’s thrilling three-wicket win over Australia at Headingley, particularly on the contribution of man of the match Mark Wood on his Test return…
The third Test at Headingley was a great game of cricket, and Australia will probably feel what England have felt in the last two matches where they played very good cricket and will try to find out where they fell short.
You lose just half an hour in this series, and you lose the Test match. When Mark Wood went out after lunch on the second day and had a cameo, and then the way Ben Stokes played, those 90 runs in 10 overs changed the course of the game.
In that case, Wood would not be able to score as many runs as it would take him while defending it and trying to survive. It is the same with Chris Woakes; I thought when he went in on the fourth day he made the right identification with Tempo.
Hanging around was not going to work, he had to put pressure on the opposition team again and he did it brilliantly.
Woakes will have to wait his turn because you always have to play (Stuart) Broad and (James) Anderson, and you have a great all-rounder in Stokesy, so you are constantly playing for a spot. There have been some other very good bowlers as well.
You don’t often play three right-arm seamers of the same pace, so Wood will now have to play at or before Jofra Archer and Josh Tong.
I’m not in the dressing room, but if you’re asking me who are two of the most popular players in this England team, I’d say Wood and Woakes – Woakes because he’s a really nice guy, but Wood because power from
We had it when I was playing Darren Gough – the kind of energy and clown that lifts you up when your chin is banging on the floor. Somebody will say something in the corner of the dressing room, do something silly, and it’s Wood.
His stats aren’t the reason why his team-mates or the Headingley crowd love Mark Wood, they love him because of his heart. You know when a cricketer is giving it his all.
He can run and bowl fast – great, that’s worth a look. But any fan and teammate wants someone with a big ticker who cares deeply, cares for his teammates, cares about the result, and leaves nothing out there.
He will get injured, he will pick himself up and go again, and that is all you can ask of a team-mate or an international cricketer. The stats tell you one thing, but people love him because he gives absolutely everything.
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