Joe Root’s Mark Wood decision slammed as "crazy" by Steve Harmison and Mark Butcher

By Matthew Cooper

England captain Joe Root has been slammed by Steve Harmison and Mark Butcher for continuing to bowl Mark Wood late in Australia 's second innings in the fourth Ashes Test.

Wood has a history of serious injury problems and he is the only out-and-out quick England have on this tour, with both Jofra Archer and Olly Stone absent with injuries.

The 31-year-old has played in three of the four Tests so far and bowled a total of 86.4 overs, with only James Anderson and Ollie Robinson bowling more for England in the series so far.

Despite only picking up eight wickets at an average of 37.62, Wood has bowled well Down Under and picked up the big wickets of David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne in the second innings in Sydney.

England captain Joe Root has been criticised for the amount of overs Mark Wood bowled during Australia's second innings in the fourth Ashes Test (Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

However, as Usman Khawaja and Cameron Green pressed on towards a declaration on day four, Root continued to bowl Wood in a move that was described as "crazy" by Butcher.

Wood ended up bowling a total of 15 overs in the second innings, more than both Anderson and Stuart Broad, with Ben Stokes ' inability to bowl due to a side injury limiting Root's options.

Speaking on commentary for BT Sport, Butcher and Harmison criticised Root's decision to keep bowling Wood, with Butcher saying: "I think this is crazy, Mark Wood hurtling in here, I really do.

"He’s not exactly been less expensive than Jack Leach was, and the risk of damaging him before the final Test match at Hobart, bowling futile overs at the back-end of this innings is just madness to me."

"We’ve talked about Joe’s captaincy and fielding positions and things that have been labelled at Joe, and I’ve stuck up for him a little bit," added Harmison.

Wood bowled a total of 15 overs, more than both James Anderson and Stuart Broad (DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

"You talk about fielding positions for Leach, it’s about how the bowler bowls. But some decisions are baffling, and to have your strike bowler bowling overs when they’re setting up a declaration, when they’ve got a bit of an injury track record and background anyway, I just think it’s madness.

"We can’t go to Hobart and compete unless we’ve got Mark Wood in the side.

"You don’t want him to get an injury. That would arguably cap the tour off if you lost your premier fast bowler before the end of this Test match going into Hobart, bearing in mind we’ve broken Ben Stokes for not having the preparation, the miles in his legs."


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