England ‘can fight fire with fire’ – Mark Wood on potential pace battle with West Indies
Mark Wood (AFP Photo)

England fast bowler Mark Wood says his side will “fight fire with fire” when they face the formidable West Indies pace attack. Friday’s World Cup clash in Southampton is likely to be a bouncer barrage, with both teams boasting aggressive bowling line-ups.

The West Indies dismissed Pakistan for 105 at Trent Bridge, the lowest total of the tournament, by unleashing an array of bouncers from Oshane Thomas, Andre Russell and Sheldon Cottrell. With Wood partnered by Barbados-born paceman Jofra Archer, and both having hit 95mph in the victory over Bangladesh, England are not likely to shrink from the battle.

“The Windies in this World Cup have come with a clear game plan and that is a lot of short stuff,” Wood said. “We got a taste of that in the Windies on the recent tour. But I can remember getting Darren Bravo and Hetmyer out to short balls so it is a good thing we can fight fire with fire.

“It could be like that, just landing blow after blow, back and forth, back and forth. The opposition batsmen don’t get a break if there is pace from both ends and it’d be nice if we can continue that trend. When real pace bowling is on show it definitely ruffles a few feathers and changes the momentum of the game.”

Speaking at the weekend Archer nominated himself as the quickest bowler in the England ranks and expressed surprise when told Wood had crept ahead of him with a delivery of 95.6mph – the fastest ball of the tournament.

That head-to-head will continue throughout the competition, with the Durham man not minded to back down. “It is a good competition between us, a friendly one,” he said. “To have us both bowling at 94 and 95mph and have two guys from the England team at the top of that list is pretty good. It pushes us for sure. You’re pushing each other to be the best you can be and to be as quick as you can be. You have banter about it for sure, but you’re helping each other.

“I’m trying to bowl 0.1 mph quicker than Jofra and he’s trying to bowl 0.1 faster than me.”