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England pace attack further depleted with Wood ruled out

August 23, 2021 GMT
England's Mark Wood celebrates as he takes the wicket of India's KL Rahul caught behind by England's Jos Buttler during the fourth day of the 2nd cricket test between England and India at Lord's cricket ground in London, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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England's Mark Wood celebrates as he takes the wicket of India's KL Rahul caught behind by England's Jos Buttler during the fourth day of the 2nd cricket test between England and India at Lord's cricket ground in London, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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England's Mark Wood celebrates as he takes the wicket of India's KL Rahul caught behind by England's Jos Buttler during the fourth day of the 2nd cricket test between England and India at Lord's cricket ground in London, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LEEDS, England (AP) — England’s pace attack will be further depleted for the third test against India after Mark Wood was ruled out because of a shoulder injury.

Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Olly Stone and Chris Woakes were already sidelined for the test at Headingley, which England goes into on Wednesday trailing 1-0 in the five-match series.

Wood has failed to recover from an injury sustained on Day 4 of the second test at Lord’s, when he crashed into an advertising board attempting to stop a boundary. He bowled on Day 5 but has been advised to pull out after further assessments in Leeds.

No replacement has been called up, with Craig Overton and Saqib Mahmood already with the squad as back-up seamers. It would be a test debut for the 24-year-old Mahmood, who has played seven one-day internationals and nine Twenty20 internationals since 2019.

“He couldn’t be in a better place to potentially play test cricket,” England captain Joe Root said of Mahmood on Monday.

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“He came out of the one-day series (against Pakistan in July) as probably the most experienced player and the go-to seamer we went to under pressure. It just shows how far he has come and it’s great to see that strength in depth.”

Ben Stokes is another pace option missing for Root, with the all-rounder saying last month he was taking an indefinite break from cricket “to prioritize his mental wellbeing.”

Asked if he had spoken to Stokes about possibly returning for the end of the series against India, Root said: “No, I’m not having conversations with Ben about his return to cricket.

“He needs to spend some time looking after Ben, doing what’s right for him. For a long time, he has put this team and England cricket ahead of a number of different things and I think it’s important people respect that, and I certainly do as England captain.”

Dawid Malan is expected to bat at No. 3 after being called up for the first time since 2018, when he played against India in the last of his 15 tests. Since then, he has established himself as a superstar in white-ball cricket and is ranked the No. 1 batsman in T20s.

He has only played one red-ball innings this summer and that was in June, when he hit 199 for Yorkshire against a heavily-weakened Sussex attack that pales in comparison to what he’ll face against India.

England’s top order has been a big problem so far this summer, with Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley the latest players to lose their places in the squad. Root is the only batsman to shine this series, with knocks so far of 64, 109, 180 not out and 33 on the back of a couple of minor technical changes.

England was skittled out for 120 in less than two sessions on Day 5 to lose the second test.

“Collectively, the most important thing when you look at batting in test cricket, it revolves around big partnerships,” Root said. “When two guys bat for a period of time, the game can look completely different and that’s got to be our focus, making those substantial partnerships.”

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