Mark Wood has emerged as an injury concern two days out from England’s T20 World Cup semi-final against India after withdrawing from training at Adelaide.
Wood has been the fastest bowler on show at this tournament, averaging 92mph and touching 96mph on several occasions to frequently unsettle batters on the bouncier Australian surfaces.
Having taken nine wickets in four matches, Wood would be expected to have a key role against India’s star-studded batting line-up but appeared to pull up during a gentle jog on the Adelaide Oval outfield.
The 32-year-old took no further part in Tuesday’s optional practice and did not bowl in the nets, seemingly a precautionary measure as England confirmed he was suffering from general body stiffness.
While the issue may simply be a case of the tournament’s demands, with England optimistic he will be ready to face India on Thursday, Wood has a worrying history of injury setbacks.
He recently missed the entire summer programme after undergoing two operations on his right elbow.
It is another potential headache England could do without as they are yet to make a call on Dawid Malan, who tweaked his left groin while fielding in last Saturday’s win over Sri Lanka and did not bat.
The left-hander was said to be quietly optimistic of being involved against India but England will be reluctant to take any risks given the enormous magnitude of what is at stake.
While he walked round the outfield before briefly jogging on Tuesday, Phil Salt, who would likely come into the side if Malan was unavailable, seemed to have an extended catching session on the boundary.
India were given a scare of their own as captain Rohit Sharma was struck on the wrist while batting in the nets, requiring treatment, although he was soon back in training and is not thought to be a doubt.
England, meanwhile, discovered on Tuesday they will be playing on the same pitch that staged the New Zealand-Ireland and Australia-Afghanistan double-header last Friday.
A used surface has been something of an Achilles heel in the past but England have beaten New Zealand and Sri Lanka on such wickets and it is not thought to be a bone of contention.
An International Cricket Council spokesperson said: “The ICC does not have a rule about the use of fresh-only or used pitches for any match in an ICC event.
“Our requirement is for the best-possible playing surface for every match. It does not necessarily follow that a ‘new’ pitch will be better than one that may have been previously used.”
Ben Stokes believes England will have to adjust to the unfamiliar ground dimensions at Adelaide, which are longer straight and shorter square.
While they were presented with similar measurements against Sri Lanka at Sydney, where Stokes’ 42 not out off 36 balls helped England to victory, which ensured a top-two finish in their Super 12s group ahead of Ashes rivals Australia, at Adelaide the difference is more pronounced.
“We’ll have to wait and see what the wicket does on Thursday, I guess,” he said.
“It’s about assessing and adapting to whatever situation you have in front of you.
“But we’ve been playing on big, square boundaries and looking to try and get the batters to hit to them, whereas here we’re probably going to have to look to change our tactics.”
Watch England’s T20 World Cup semi-final against India live on Sky Sports Cricket on Thursday (7am build-up ahead of an 8am start)