Jofra Archer is set to miss the third Test at Port Elizabeth as he was unable to recover fully from an elbow injury. Archer, who missed the second Test at Newlands owing to an elbow problem, sent down a few deliveries in the nets before holding up and consulting team’s medical staff.
Later on, he had a word with head coach Chris Silverwood and then bowled a few balls before ending his session. On a tour which has been marred by injuries, England will be content with Mark Wood’s availability on a pitch which is likely to be on the drier side.
Wood, who last played for England in the World Cup final, has been sidelined for a major time period following side and ankle injuries. The Durham paceman last played a Test against West Indies at St Lucia, where he recorded his first-ever five-wicket haul. His spell of fast bowling in that Test was seen as one of the quickest by an England paceman.
His extra pace will aid Joe Root in Port Elizabeth on a dry pitch, where reverse swing might come into play as well. Root, while speaking on the eve of third Test, said Wood would definitely come into contention if he could get through his final bowling session without any concern, which he [Wood] did.
“With Mark, if you look at the last summer of cricket he’s 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,” said Root [as quoted by Guardian].
“He’s had a sustained period getting ready for an opportunity be it this week or later in the tour. The reason we’ve been quite cautious in terms of rushing him back is that history. I know that his value in the team is 100 per cent. If he’s 100 per cent, bowling at 90-plus-mph, the skills he has at that pace are going to cause problems and will be a great asset in Test cricket.
“Every now and then, you can’t worry too often about whether he’s going to get through a five-day game. If they’ve proven themselves to be fit, if they’ve jumped through every hoop and worked very hard to get back there, you have to give them that opportunity. As I say, we’ll look at training today and make a strong call at the end of it.”
Third Test starts at Port Elizabeth on January 15, whereas the fourth and final Test will be played at Johannesburg on January 24.