Mark Wood set to return for the second Test, to replace injured Liam Livingstone

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In a big boost for England, star pacer Mark Wood is declared fit for the second Test match against Pakistan starting from Friday (December 9) in Multan. Wicketkeeper-batter Ben Foakes is also fully fit for the second Test but will miss the match as England management wants to go ahead with Ollie Pope, who smashed 108 runs off 104 balls in the first innings at Rawalpindi Test.

Liam Livingstone made his Test debut in the last match but suffered a knee injury and has already returned home for rehabilitation. Wood missed the opening match with a hip injury but the traveling side managed to register a dominating 74-run win. Wood’s return will definitely boost England’s bowling unit which clearly lacked specialist pace options in the first match.

Wood’s return will add to our ability to take 20 wickets: Ben Stokes

England captain Ben Stokes seemed delighted about Wood’s return to the squad and said that it will be a massive bonus for any team to have someone who can bowl at 150 km/h. Wood has taken 82 wickets from 26 Tests at an average of 31.91 and last played red-ball cricket against West Indies in March.

“Having someone in your squad who can bowl at 150 km/h is a massive bonus for any team around the world, especially as Pakistan is a very hard place to come and win. Having someone of his calibre and what he brings will be massive for us. It will add to our ability to take 20 wickets,” Ben Stokes said according to BBC.

Stokes also explained the reason behind the absence of fit-again wicketkeeper Ben Foakes. He stated that the selection is only for the upcoming match and that Foakes remains a crucial part of England’s future.

“The selection is just for this Test. ll still keep saying he (Ben Foakes) is the best keeper in the world, so it must sound silly for us to not pick him. We did say to Ben to not take this as anything for the future. We didn’t have this on our radar until the illness he unfortunately had before the first Test. This is definitely no sign for his future,” Stokes added.

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