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Last Updated: 02/07/20 7:03pm
England enjoyed their first sight of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood bowling in tandem with a red ball as Test preparations continued on day two of the squad’s internal clash at the Ageas Bowl.
While there remains concern off the pitch for the health of all-rounder Sam Curran, who is awaiting the results of a Covid-19 test after being placed in self-isolation at the Ageas Bowl, on the pitch, the battle for bowling places intensified.
Jos Buttler’s team, who declared on their day one score of 287-5, left Ben Stokes’ side 233 all out at stumps.
Buttler’s hand was strengthened by having the combination of Archer and Wood at his disposal.
Injury has kept the country’s quickest bowlers apart since both played key roles in England’s World Cup victory last year, but midway through the morning session they teamed up for a promising eight-over spell that cost just seven runs and yielded the wicket of opener Dom Sibley for 12.
Archer banked the scalp, caught behind flicking the ball down leg-side, but the pair hunted together to unsettle Sibley with pacey short-pitched bowling. Wood might just as easily have been the one celebrating moments earlier, forcing Sibley to fend awkwardly to Ollie Pope, who squandered the chance at short-leg.
Wood returned in the afternoon session to take Jonny Bairstow’s outside edge with the first ball of his second spell and finished with spotless figures of 1-14 from 11 overs, while Archer returned 2-37 after adding Ben Foakes for 38.
He received treatment for sore feet late on, understood to be a result of wearing new bowling boots, and was replaced by Surrey’s Amar Virdi – the 29th player involved in the match.
Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson also offered a reminder of his skills, bowling with precision as he accounted for Moeen Ali and Lewis Gregory in a double-wicket maiden.
Stuart Broad could find himself vulnerable to the growing competition, returning figures of 0-42.
Moeen’s dismissal, lbw for five, followed a peripheral role with the ball on Wednesday and his hopes of a first Test appearance in a year appear to be receding. Instead, Dom Bess is well set to hold his place in the side.
He bowled more tightly than either Moeen or Jack Leach managed on Wednesday and had Keaton Jennings caught at slip before lunch.
Zak Crawley top-scored with 43, a positive innings strewn with neat drives, before he nicked Chris Woakes – yet another able seamer vying for attention.
Stokes made his way to 41 and doled out Bess’ only real punishment when he launched him for six and four in the same over, before he was stumped charging Matt Parkinson.