back icon


Mark Wood vindicates his selection with fiery spell to rattle India

article_imageMATCH STORIES
Last updated on 15 Feb 2024 | 05:13 AM
Google News IconFollow Us
Mark Wood vindicates his selection with fiery spell to rattle India

After dismissing the in-form Jaiswal, Wood embarrassed Shubman Gill to rattle India early on Day 1

It was the perfect one-two combo. A one-two punch more flawless and devastating than the ones we’ve seen in the last 18 months from the likes of Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner.

On the third ball of the fifth over, Mark Wood cut Shubman Gill in half with a perfect nip-backer. Gill was playing for the outswinger but Wood surprised him with a delivery that came back sharply. And the ball nearly sent Gill’s stumps for a walk. 

Wood was on his knees, and there was a collective gasp from the England fielders, who simply couldn’t believe that the ball had missed the stumps. Indeed, it was *that* close. 

On another day, Wood and England might have died wondering ‘what could have been’. On another day, Gill might have continued having the luck he enjoyed in the second innings in Vizag, where he went on to score a ton despite surviving half-a-dozen close calls inside his first 50 balls.

However, that wasn’t to be today. For, on the very next ball, Wood found the outside edge of Gill with a ball that left him. 

Again, on another day, Gill might have played this particular delivery differently. In isolation, it was a good ball, but not an unplayable one. However, after nearly losing his off-stump on the previous ball, Gill could not afford to simply let this one go. He prodded at it, and paid the price. 

Booming in-nipper first ball -> plant doubts on the mind of the batter. 

Bowl one on the corridor of uncertainty the next ball - get the batter to nick it. 

The perfect one-two.

It was Wood’s second wicket of the day, and, just like that, England’s decision to go with two pacers, England’s move to pick Wood over Ollie Robinson, was vindicated. 

After Wood conceded a boundary on his third ball of the day, for a fleeting moment, it looked like England had made the wrong choice, but in the space of six balls, the tearaway quick showcased his x-factor.

Unlike the Gill dismissal, which was ‘pure Test match cinema’, the Yashasvi Jaiswal wicket came against the run of play. The double-centurion from the last match had started off confidently again and looked like he was eyeing to make merry on a pretty good Rajkot wicket. 

However, the tame dismissal which came against the run of play — Jaiswal perishing fending one to Root at first slip — was another reason why England picked Wood today: his ability to produce something out of nothing. 

As a team, England have been breaking new ground this series. Staying true to this theme, Wood broke new personal ground, picking two wickets in the first ten overs of an innings for the first time in his career. 

Only time will tell if this burst from Wood will prove to be decisive, but, as it stands, he’s given England a golden opportunity to get ahead in this game and the series. 

Related Article