Mark Wood set to play for England in third Test; Jofra Archer likely to miss out in Port Elizabeth
Wood in line to replace injured James Anderson at St George's Park from Thursday - watch live on Sky Sports Cricket from 7.30am
Last Updated: 16/01/20 7:27am
Mark Wood is poised to play for England in the third Test against South Africa with fellow seamer Jofra Archer looking likely to miss out.
Archer sat out the second Test in Cape Town - which England won by 189 runs to level the four-match series at 1-1 - with a sore elbow and bowled gingerly during two brief spells at Wednesday's training session.
Wood - who has not bowled in a game since July's World Cup final due to side and knee problems - undertook a more intensive workout and is set to replace James Anderson, whose tour has been ended by a broken rib.
Woakes is also a contender after fully shaking off the illness that affected the early part of his tour but Wood's extra pace means he is set to be given the nod at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth.
Speaking before Wednesday's training session, England captain Joe Root said of the selection battle: "That decision hasn't been made.
"We need to make sure we're really clear going into a five-day game that they are able to stand up to the challenges that will bring, physically and mentally, having not played for a little while.
"It is the sensible thing to do to hold off, get more information on the pitch and more information on where they're at.
"With Mark, if you look at the last summer of cricket he played, he actually got through a lot of cricket injury-free which is testament to how hard he's worked on his rehab and making sure his body can cope with different things. He's been managed well by the medical staff.
"The reason we've been quite cautious in terms of rushing him back is that history. If he's 100 per cent, bowling at 90mph-plus, the skills he has at that pace are going to cause problems and will be a great asset in Test cricket."
On Archer, Root had said: "Jofra is right at the start of his Test career and has a huge amount of ability. It is clear to see what he is capable of doing. But managing workloads is a very important part of it as well.
"He has played a huge amount of cricket since he has come into the international arena and we have seen a little bit of push-back from his body with that elbow injury.
"If he is fit and raring to go you want him in your side. But you want to make sure that he is able to deliver all of his skills - not just seam it around and swing it but do it all at 90 miles an hour."
Neither Woakes or Wood are without risk. They haven’t got match fitness or miles into their legs. They say reverse swing is a factor here so that is a positive for Wood.
Root has confirmed England will play a spinner with Dom Bess likely to keep his place after taking two wickets in the win at Newlands.
Uncapped Lancashire leg-spinner Matt Parkinson is Bess' only competition for the role, with Jack Leach having returned home after struggling to overcome illness.
Watch the third Test between South Africa and England in Port Elizabeth, live from 7.30am on Thursday on Sky Sports Cricket.