Wood injury adds to England pace problems ahead of third Test

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Mark Wood. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mark Wood. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Mark Wood has been ruled out of this week's third Test with India dealing a blow to the hosts' hopes of levelling the five-match series which the tourists lead 1-0.

The 31-year-old has a jarred right shoulder, a result of diving headlong into an advertising hoarding when saving a boundary on the fourth evening of the second Test at Lord's.

Even though he bowled at speeds in excess of 93 mph (150 kph) on the last day of the second Test, which England lost, he has been judged not fit to take his place in the starting line-up for the game at Headingley, which gets underway on Wednesday.

"It is frustrating for Mark and for us as a side -- he gives us a real point of difference," said England captain Joe Root at his press conference on Monday.

The Durham paceman, whose career has been blighted by injuries, adds to the growing list of unavailable England seam bowlers.

Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Olly Stone and Chris Woakes are out due to injury whilst all-rounder Ben Stokes is unavailable owing to a mental health break.

"I really feel for all three of those guys," Root said of Archer, Stone and Wood, who are all capable of bowling in excess of 90mph.

"There is no doubt that when all three of them are back and ready, they will do wonderful things for English cricket and have a big impact over a period of time.

"It is frustrating for them more than anyone else."

Many felt Wood should have taken greater care in the field.

"It was madness," said former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott in his column for Britain's Daily Telegraph.

"Modern-day cricketers all dive athletically to save runs and the effort is commendable, but it is not worth the risk of injury to a leading bowler."

Either Saqib Mahmood or Craig Overton -- both of whom were already in the squad -- could replace Wood in the starting XI.

Overton has won four caps to date whilst Mahmood has taken 14 wickets for England in seven one-day internationals.

Root though hinted 24-year-old Mahmood may be given his Test debut.

"Saqib could not be in a better place to potentially play Test cricket," said Root.

"The opportunities he has taken this year when he has been given them has been exceptional.

"He has been a standout bowler."

England go into the test against Virat Kohli's team bidding not only to level the series but end a run of seven Tests without a victory.

Poor top order batting has played a major role in that unimpressive run with Root bearing the burden of making the runs.

Dawid Malan has been recalled to the squad -- he has not played Test cricket since winning his 15th cap in August 2018 -- and is likely to bat at three with Haseeb Hameed moving up to open alongside Rory Burns after Dom Sibley was dropped.

"Dawid would obviously offer us a lot of experience," said Root.

"He has played a huge amount of international cricket now and dealt with pressure situations.

"He played in a massive series in Australia and was our leading run-scorer out there."

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