"Have started to expose two stumps" - Salman Butt on Australia's struggles against Mark Wood in third Ashes 2023 Test

England v Australia - LV= Insurance Ashes 3rd Test Match: Day Two
Mark Wood picked up seven wickets in third Ashes 2023 Test . (Pic: Getty)

Salman Butt believes Mark Wood's express pace has played a big role in England taking pole position in the ongoing third Ashes 2023 Test against Australia at Headingley.

The former Pakistan captain emphasised how the Australian batters were compelled to abandon their strategy of protecting all three stumps against Wood. Highlighting the significance of having a speedster in the lineup, Butt said on his YouTube channel:

"Pace does play a big role. It intervenes in a batter's thought process. Some Australian batters used to cover all three stumps while batting. However, they have started to expose two stumps while facing Wood. This is the difference that genuine pace makes."

It's worth noting that Mark Wood was not named in England's starting XI for the first two games of the Ashes 2023 series. He was called up for the third game and had an immediate impact, taking five wickets in the first innings.

Wood also took two wickets in Australia's second innings. In addition, he contributed a vital 24-run knock from just eight balls. Butt believes that the addition of tearaway quick, along with Chris Woakes, should not have been an afterthought, adding:

"I have been saying since the first Test that Mark Wood and Chris Woakes must feature in England's playing XI. No idea why England instead went with a bunch of medium pacers. It was like they had promised that they wouldn't bowl over 80 mph."
"There might have been an injury concern with Wood, but still, they could have gone with Woakes. Their presence has made a big difference. Furthermore, Woakes can also contribute with the bat. Wood also played an impactful knock. The two guys who didn't play the first two Tests went on to pick 13 wickets here."

Notably, Woakes also delivered an impressive performance with the ball, finishing with six wickets.

"Just cannot look to take a wicket on every ball" - Salman Butt on Australian bowlers

Australia were bowled out for just 224 runs in their second innings, setting England a 251-run target. The English openers did a fine job towards the end of Day 3, scoring 27 runs from five overs without losing a wicket.

Salman Butt suggested that Pat Cummins and Co. bowled a few bad balls as they were desperate to get a breakthrough, stating:

"Australian bowlers bowled a few good balls, but they did pitch a few up, hoping to get some wickets towards the end of the day. Even though it is a small total, Australia just cannot look to take a wicket on every ball. They will have to stick to their plans, which I am sure they will."

England have a significant chance of bouncing back in the ongoing five-match series by securing a win in the third Test. Australia currently have a 2-0 lead to their name.

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Edited by Nihal
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