England's Mark Wood says 'snap and rhythm' is returning after opening up with James Anderson
By Sky Sports Cricket
Last Updated: 14/03/18 12:33pm
England seamer Mark Wood says he has got full confidence in his troublesome left ankle after opening the bowling ahead of Stuart Broad on day one of the warm-up match against a New Zealand XI.
Wood, who sat out the first two ODIs against New Zealand after missing the Ashes because of injury, took 2-80 in 18 overs at Seddon Park as the hosts rallied from 30-5 to score 376 runs in the day.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Wood admitted he was surprised to be handed the new pink ball ahead of Broad, who has taken 399 Test wickets and has recently modified his wrist position before delivery.
"Obviously you've got to try and set the tone," said Wood.
"I was a little bit shocked when Rooty told me yesterday that I'd be opening the bowling; Anderson and Broad are such a prolific partnership, so for him to ask that of me was a nice feeling. It was an honour to open the bowling with Jimmy today.
"I was stiff at the end [of the day] but I've not bowled that many overs.
"I go through spells, especially during the one-dayers where at times I felt sharp and then at other times not so much.
"When I've been trying to muscle it down and bowl quick it has actually come out slower; when I've had that rhythm and just tried to let it flow and not be so rigid and tense, it's actually flowed better and I've bowled quicker.
"There were definitely a couple of spells today where I felt that snap and rhythm were there and a couple of spells where I didn't."
Wood, 28, says his ability to jump wide of the crease in his delivery stride indicates that he is feeling more comfortable with his ankle.
But with Ben Stokes (back), Chris Woakes (hamstring) and Craig Overton (thigh) all expected to be fit for England's first Test against New Zealand in a week's time, Wood acknowledges he has to take every chance that comes his way if he is to add to his 10 Test caps.
"I know there's a few 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," he admitted.
Watch England take on New Zealand in the first of two Test matches live on Sky Sports Cricket from 12.30am on Thursday, March 22.