Mark Wood will continue to have his fitness monitored by England’s medical and coaching staff before Thursday’s fourth Ashes Test after getting through two bowling sessions at Trent Bridge on Monday following a painkilling injection to his left ankle.
The Durham fast bowler was replaced by Steven Finn for the eight-wicket win over Australia at Edgbaston – a result that saw England take a 2-1 series lead with two Tests to play – amid concerns over the 25-year-old’s workload and longstanding discomfort in the joint.
The attack leader Jimmy Anderson has been ruled out of the fourth Test because of a side strain suffered in Birmingham and Wood is the preferred choice among the coaching staff to step into the breach and has been tipped by the head coach, Trevor Bayliss, to share the new ball with Stuart Broad.
The England squad used their scheduled day off on Mondayfor batting practice, gym work and a game of football at the training ground of neighbouring club Nottingham Forest in the evening. Wood had two sessions with the bowling coach, Ottis Gibson, following a pain jab understood to have been delivered last week.
No ill-effects were reported, although Yorkshire’s Liam Plunkett, whose last Test came against India at Lord’s 12 months ago, and the uncapped Derbyshire left-armer Mark Footitt are on standby should Wood suffer any problems during two further days of practice this week.
Darren Lehmann, meanwhile, has admitted the batsman Shaun Marsh is pushing hard to be selected for Australia although where he fits in is up for debate. Adam Voges, the struggling No5 he has been tipped to replace, was seen training in his usual first-slip position on Monday. Marsh, the 32-year-old left-hander,, who played as an opener on their recent tour of the Caribbean as Chris Rogers missed two Tests through concussion, scored two centuries in Australia’s tour matches against Kent and Derbyshire.
“You don’t like to change too much. This side beat England by 400 runs [in the second Test at Lord’s],” Lehmann told Adelaide radio station 5AA. “Marsh is knocking the door down hard, isn’t he? He was very good in the West Indies for us when he came in for Rogers. He got 70-odd in one of the Tests.
“He’s starting to work it out, as you normally do, when you get to that sort of age … in your prime and starting to really understand your game well. He’s knocking the door down and we’ll have to work out whether we can fit him in or if we can’t.”
Lehmann is also demanding his bowlers improve their performance from Edgbaston, where they struggled for discipline under scoreboard pressure, and claimed the England openers Adam Lyth and Alastair Cook – the two wickets taken as Australia wilted on the third afternoon – are struggling.
“We’ve got some pressure on their batters with Lyth and Cook struggling so now we’ve got to continue that and get the ball in the right areas a bit more often,” he said. “We certainly didn’t bowl as well as we would have liked in good conditions the other day and the bowlers understand that.”