London, Aug 31 (IANS) England have both Mark Wood and Chris Woakes available for selection for the fourth Test that begins at The Oval from Thursday. It eases pressure on the team management that is looking to give break one of their two frontline pacers, James Anderson and Ollie Robinson.
“I think the great thing is that we have both of them fit and available. I think we will see how everyone pulls up over the next couple of days,” said captain Joe Root to media during a virtual interaction on Tuesday.
“It is nice to have both of them available for selection. Mark [Wood] obviously suffered a freak injury, which was a bit of a scare. He will only get stronger going into the game. It was good to see him operate at full pace,” added Root.
Wood was injured during the second Test at Lord’s and was forced to bowl during the fifth day’s play despite the shoulder injury. His place was taken in the third Test by Craig Overton, who too performed well against the fidgety Indians.
Woakes, a bowling all-rounder whose century powered England to a win at Lord’s against India in the 2018 series, could not start the series.
“For Woaksy (Chris Woakes), it has been an absolute nightmare. Whether it is Covid that has kept him out due to close contact or a freak injury, he has felt he has not played huge amount of cricket. But when he has been as good as he ever has been. He was our best player last summer. To have him back around things is great. To have him back makes us strong,” said Root further.
Both Robinson (116.5) and Anderson (116.3) have bowled the most number of overs in the series. England could give one of them, preferably Anderson, rest for the fourth Test at Oval.
“It is important to see over the next couple of days where everyone is at physically. And it is such a tricky situation. We have had to deal with so many things over this period and a number of challenges as well,” said Root.
“The games coming thick and fast. It is always going to be tricky [to keep] the balance of it [so that] you don’t blow someone out and injure someone,” added Root.
The 30-year-old England captain praised his side’s bowling.
“From the bowling perspective, we were pretty much flawless. The right lengths early on and managed to do that for long periods of time. With the bat, we ground throughout the series and this (the third Test performance) was our best through the series. Hopefully, we can go again and see further improvement,” he added further.