Archer, Wood and Woakes vying for England starting spot – Collingwood

By Sports Desk January 13, 2020

Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes are locked in a battle for a spot in England's bowling attack for the third Test with South Africa. 

Fielding coach Paul Collingwood revealed the trio were all in contention to replace the injured James Anderson in Port Elizabeth.

With the series tied at 1-1, the tourists will hope to build on their impressive 189-run victory in the second Test, with Archer, Wood and Woakes eyeing a spot in the line-up.

"They've an opportunity over the next two training sessions to prove to us they should be the one in the team," said Collingwood.

"It's actually really nice to be able to come into a Test being able to choose from players who are 100 per cent ready to go.

"Here at PE [Port Elizabeth] it's generally a slower pitch, so sometimes having that kind of X-factor can be great.

"Sunday's training session was one of the best we've had for a long time.

"We saw bowlers really running in against the batters. They were really making it difficult for them. If we can do that more often, then our education as a team will grow very strongly and very quickly."

Responding to suggestions that Archer had lost his way after bursting onto the scene with England last year, Collingwood jumped to the 24-year-old's defence.

"He's very early on in his international career," he said. "He hasn't bowled a lot with the Kookaburra ball, which requires a completely different skillset from the Dukes. 

"His main skill is bowling 90 miles per hour plus. We have enough bowlers in and around the county circuit who can bowl at 82 to 85 miles per hour and try to nip it around. 

"You want the likes of Wood and Archer to give you that X-factor.”

The third Test begins on Thursday.

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    The tourists resumed on 192-4 with captain Joe Root and Ollie Pope each well set at the crease but, though they both reached their half-centuries, Anrich Nortje's first Test five-for had England looking at a relatively underwhelming first-innings total.

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    Their 82 helped England to 400 all out, a total South Africa appear destined to fall well short of after Wood claimed 3-21 to reduce the Proteas to 88-6 at stumps.

    After following on in the third Test in Port Elizabeth, South Africa are in very real danger of having to do the same in the series finale, with 12 wickets falling in the day.

    Such dominance by the ball looked a slim prospect when Root and Pope stretched a partnership worth 35 at the close on Friday to 101, their respective fifties reward for an aggressive start to the day.

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    Wood, fresh off his 42 in the third Test, hit three sixes in his unbeaten 35, while Broad struck four maximums in his 43, which was ended when he skied Dane Paterson to Pieter Malan to finally bring the innings to a close.

    That last wicket was barely celebrated and South Africa's response provided little for the home fans to cheer. 

    Malan was the first to fall to Wood with 29 on the board as he was done for pace by the seamer, edging into Buttler's gloves, before Rassie van der Dussen went for a duck when Ben Stokes snared a fine catch off Sam Curran.

    A dreadful shot from Elgar saw him flash Stokes to Woakes, who trapped Du Plessis lbw for three. The under-pressure South Africa captain is without a Test fifty in his last 10 innings.

    Quinton de Kock reached stumps unbeaten on 32 but excellent catches from Stokes and Joe Denly gave Wood the wickets of Temba Bavuma and Nortje, the latter's dismissal proving the final ball of another dismal day for South Africa.

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