Mark Wood emerged from a chastening experience in Hamilton reassured that he is being primed for a lead role in England’s long-term future.
Wood conceded more than four-an-over at Seddon Park, where centuries from New Zealand Test discard Tom Blundell and unheralded tailender Kyle Jamieson gave England the runaround on day one of their warm-up match.
Yet England’s fastest bowler knew even before start of play that his standing is high with captain Joe Root, who informed him the previous evening that he would take the new ball alongside James Anderson.
The reason for 28-year-old Wood’s elevation is significant.
Anderson and Stuart Broad, with a remarkable 922 Test wickets between them but also a combined age of 66, cannot go on forever as the twin strike force which has dominated England’s attack for the past decade.
After a New Zealand XI had recovered from 30-5 to 358-8, Wood explained why he had bowled ahead of Broad.
“Yesterday, we had a bowlers’ meeting, and (Joe) pulled me in at the end and said that – further down the line – if the two guys finish at around the same time, we don’t want two fresh opening bowlers.
“I was shocked, because they’re a prolific opening partnership.
“But it was a chance for me to try to impress.”
Wood appears to have an outside chance of playing in next week’s first Test, an inaugural day-night fixture at Auckland’s Eden Park, only if Ben Stokes or Chris Woakes fail to recover from minor injuries as expected.
(Joe) pulled me in at the end and said that – further down the line – if the two guys finish at around the same time, we don’t want two fresh opening bowlers. I was shocked, because they’re a prolific opening partnership.England fast bowler, Mark Wood
“I know there’s a few of bowlers who’ve got a couple of niggles for this game, so this was a chance for me to put my name in the hat,” said Wood, who struggled particularly when he switched ends.
“I think they should burn that top end, so I don’t have to bowl from there any more.
“I guess it was rhythm. At times, I almost felt I tried too hard, got a bit tense and tried to bowl too quick - then when I let it flow, it seemed to come out better.
“(But) it was nice having the experience of Jimmy and Broady next to you. They know me well, so they can say where I’m going wrong and what I’m doing right.”