England fast bowler Mark Wood has been ruled out of the Test squad to face Sri Lanka due to a left side strain.

The injury-plagued Wood aggravated the problem at the end of the South Africa tour and has been replaced in the party that travels to Sri Lanka on Monday by uncapped Lancashire quick Saqib Mahmood.

The Durham paceman damaged his side during the 2019 Cricket World Cup final in July and, after undergoing surgery for an unrelated knee injury, returned for the third Test in Port Elizabeth in January, a match he only played in due to Jofra Archer withdrawing with what turned out to be a fractured elbow.

Wood bowled at incredible pace as he claimed figures of 9-100 and player-of-the-match honours in the 191-run victory over the Proteas in the fourth Test that sealed a 3-1 series win.

The 30-year-old sat out the ODI matches but featured in February's three Twenty20 games versus South Africa but has again been consigned to the sidelines.

Injury problems have restricted Wood to just 15 Test appearances since making his debut in 2015.

His latest setback means the scrutiny on how England manage their fast bowlers on the tour of Sri Lanka, where they will be without Wood, Archer and James Anderson, will likely increase.

The first Test is scheduled to begin in Galle on March 19.

Joe Root believes the sky is the limit for England as a Test team after they completed a 3-1 series win in South Africa.

England wrapped up the series with a 191-run victory in the fourth Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Monday.

The triumph marks England's first series success since a 3-0 sweep of Sri Lanka in November 2018.

Dom Sibley, playing in only his second Test series, top-scored for England with 324 runs, forming an opening partnership with another new boy in Zak Crawley.

Ollie Pope scored two half-centuries and his first century while spinner Dom Bess vindicated his selection with a crucial six-wicket performance in the third Test. 

With so many young players contributing to an impressive victory, captain Root is confident there is a lot more to come from his side.

"Very special indeed. It's taken a lot," Root said of the win at the post-match presentation. "To pick ourselves up and play the way we have done in the last three games is extremely pleasing.

"It's been a real squad effort from a number of guys that are very much at the start of their international careers.

"The sky's the limit for us now, we have to keep looking to get better. It's been a fantastic series for our development as a Test team."

Ben Stokes won the man of the series award, having played an instrumental role, most notably in the second Test in Cape Town, where he scored 119 runs, claimed six catches and took a match-winning 3-35 in South Africa's second innings. 

He also struck a century in the third Test and finished the series with 12 catches, the most of any fielder, his performance coming after his father was rushed to hospital days before the series.

"The most important thing is that we're walking away with a series win," Stokes said. "It's been a bit of a rollercoaster.

"I hope the old man is in his hospital bed watching this with a big smile on his face."

Mark Wood was the key figure in England's fourth Test win, taking nine wickets in the match and also forming the highest 10th-wicket partnership at the Wanderers as he and Stuart Broad combined for 82 to push the tourists to 400.

Man of the match Wood had not expected to play in the series finale, but he was included after elbow soreness led to Jofra Archer's omission.

The seamer, who has frequently battled injuries in his career, said: "There was a bit of doubt going in but boy am I glad I played now.

"I'm over the moon. I've had a lot of dark days, credit to the backroom staff, everyone's so supportive, [head coach] Chris Silverwood tries to get me to have fun."

Describing his approach, he added: "I give it everything I've got, run in hard for the captain, as much energy as I can, and let it fly."

England paceman Mark Wood sealed the second five-wicket haul of his Test career and then thanked West Indies great Michael Holding for a priceless piece of advice.

Wood's probing returned figures of 5-46 at The Wanderers as South Africa were all out for 183 on day three of the fourth Test, before England posted 248 in their second innings to set the hosts a world-record run chase.

South Africa will have two days to get the 466 runs they require to win the match and draw the series, but it is a tall order.

And with Wood showing sizzling form with the ball, South Africa may struggle to take the contest to a fifth day.

Asked about his bowling display, Wood said: "I'm over the moon."

Returning from knee and side injuries to reclaim his England place, a conversation Wood had with Holding yielded a morsel of great wisdom from the man who took 249 wickets for West Indies in 60 Tests.

By lengthening his run-up, Wood has taken some of the explosive element out of his action, which should help on the fitness front, and the suggestion came from 65-year-old Holding.

Wood told Sky Sports: "I wish I'd changed my run-up sooner. Some guy did mention it to me..."

With a nod to Holding, who is working for the broadcaster, Wood explained: "He said, 'You're putting too much strain on your body, lengthen your run-up', and since I've done that it's been a lot better.

"I've got a little bit more momentum. It takes a little bit more pressure off my body, whereas off my short run it felt like I had to force it. You're not going to have rhythm every day when you're running in.

"The days where I didn't quite feel it, I was still having to force it and I was putting that extra strain on my body, so it's been nice to take a load off and just feel my way in but still bowl quickly.

"I was stubborn to change it because it had worked for me up to a point. But if I was going to play more cricket or if I was going to improve, I was going to have to change something.

"I just felt it was the right time for me to change it. I wish I had done it earlier, but it's all in the past now."

England's second innings saw opener Dom Sibley make 44, with captain Joe Root adding 58 and all-rounder Sam Curran plundering a rapid 35.

Curran hailed Wood's efforts and reflected the mood in the camp by stressing the tourists are on a high, with their victory prospects looking strong.

Curran told the BBC's Test Match Special podcast: "It's a great position to be in at the close, maybe we would have liked to have been batting tomorrow, but the lead is nice.

"It was nice to have a bit of fun out there with Rooty. Woody with five wickets, what a man, the team is so happy, he's one of the great guys in cricket. For him to come back from injury and get five is amazing."

England cemented their dominance of the fourth Test with South Africa as they closed day three with a 465-run lead in Johannesburg.

After bowling the hosts out for 183, Mark Wood claiming a five-for, England opted against enforcing the follow-on and instead built on their 217-run first-innings advantage.

Captain Joe Root led the way with a 58, his wicket bringing the tourists' fun to an end as Faf du Plessis took a stunning one-handed catch to give Beuran Hendricks 5-64 on his Test debut.

That afforded the Proteas some joy on an otherwise frustrating day and they will return on Monday needing to complete a world-record chase to avoid a 3-1 series defeat.

South Africa resumed on 88-6 on Sunday and facing an uphill struggle which became all the harder when Vernon Philander fell in the first full over of the day in his final Test outing.

Chris Woakes claimed that scalp and Ben Stokes accounted for the stubborn Dwaine Pretorius (37), but it was the impressive Wood (5-46) who took the key wicket of Quinton de Kock for 76.

Dane Paterson was Wood's final victim as South Africa's dismal innings came to an end, England deciding to bat and doing so for the remainder of the day.

Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley enjoyed a 107-run opening stand in the first innings and managed 56 this time before Pretorius dismissed the former. 

Joe Denly was out cheap to Paterson when he inside-edged onto his own stumps, while Sibley went for a patient 44.

There was some typically ambitious hitting in a 24-ball Ben Stokes cameo that yielded 28 runs and six boundaries, while Root had been steadily edging towards his half-century as partners came and went at regular intervals.

Wood added to his bowling exploits with 18 runs from 12 balls and Root was the last man to fall, Du Plessis showing superb athleticism and incredible handling to grasp a fast-moving ball down low to his right.

Joe Root would rank a series win over South Africa as his greatest achievement as England Test captain and believes the "sky is the limit" for his young side.

England head into the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers - which starts on Friday - with a 2-1 lead, having already extended their unbeaten run in away Test series against the Proteas to four.

The tourists have been hit hard by both illness and injuries in South Africa, with James Anderson, Jack Leach and Rory Burns having all returned to England, while paceman Jofra Archer missed the last two Tests with an elbow issue.

Given the circumstances, Root says beating the Proteas in their own backyard would probably go down as his most satisfying accomplishment since taking over as skipper almost three years ago.

"It's been a tour that has thrown everything at us," Root told reporters. "But the whole squad, the players and the coaching staff, have worked tirelessly to make sure we stayed calm and as in control as we could.

"When we've had our opportunities to bounce back, we've really taken them. It's been really pleasing in many ways.

"We're a very young side at the start of something and we've seen some very promising performances. To win three Tests in a row would be a very big achievement for this group.

"A series win here probably would be my proudest achievement as captain, because of the different things we've had to manage throughout this tour.

"We've had injuries and senior players having to fly home and a lot of illness to deal with and we have adapted to very different conditions.

"For a young group of players that has been very pleasing and a sign we're doing the right things. If we can harness that and keep looking to improve then I do think the sky's the limit for this team.

"But we're very much at the start of something here and we're not perfect by any means. We have to keep that attitude and keep driving that forward for a long period of time if we want to get to number one in the world."

Mark Wood came into the side for the third Test and it remains to be seen if he will be able to play back-to-back matches with Archer pushing for a recall.

"It would be nice to see how Archer and Wood go together," Root said.

"It would be a relentless barrage of pace. It would be great to have that extra bit of pace and firepower, but ultimately we've got to hit the right areas as we have done in the last couple of games."

England paceman Jofra Archer staked his claim for a recall for the final Test against South Africa with an impressive showing in the nets on Wednesday.

An elbow injury kept Archer out of victories at Newlands and St George's Park that have given the tourists a 2-1 lead with one match to play at the Wanderers.

The quick could come back into the side in Johannesburg on Friday after catching the eye in practice, while England are monitoring Mark Wood after he played his first Test for 11 months in Port Elizabeth.

England assistant coach Graham Thorpe told talkSPORT: "Jofra had good rhythm and bowled nice and quick today.

"That's where we want Jof to be. He looks good, but he will have to come in again tomorrow and back it up.

"The elbow problem has been a big issue for him. You can't force that, you have to wait for the player to be confident with it.

"Mark Wood hasn't played back-to-back Test matches for a while, but he bowled exceptionally well for us in Port Elizabeth. He bowled at high speeds of 90mph plus and gave us an X-factor. We'll have to see how he is and I'm sure Woody will be really honest with us.

"Historically, it's a pitch which has good carry and pace and generally starts softer then quickens up. It has that carry which bowlers, batters and spinners alike enjoy.

"It would be tough if [spinner Dom] Bess didn't play this Test. He has done himself no harm, though, in the way he has come into the set-up and the way he's bowled.

"He's progressed from the last time I saw him about six months ago and when you perform it gives you confidence. So we won't rush straight into a decision, it'll be nice to have all those options on the table."

Mark Wood was named in England's side for the third Test against South Africa, with Jofra Archer once again unavailable.

Captain Joe Root opted to give the fit-again Wood the nod to replace James Anderson, who sustained a rib injury in the Ben Stokes-inspired victory in Cape Town that levelled the four-match series at 1-1.

Paceman Archer missed out in Port Elizabeth as he continues to battle a troublesome elbow problem, while Wood earned a place over Chris Woakes, who was also in contention.

"Jofra pulled up a little sore with his elbow, but credit to Woody, he's fit and firing and that's an exciting place to be, and two guys up around 90mph is an exciting place for England cricket," Root said. 

"We need to make sure we back up [Cape Town] well."

Wood last played a competitive fixture in England's thrilling Cricket World Cup final victory over New Zealand in July and underwent knee surgery after the tournament.

The paceman's last Test match was against the West Indies in St Lucia 11 months ago, but Wood insisted he is raring to go.

"I went to La Manga with James Anderson then the fast bowlers' camp. There've been question marks about my fitness, but that last game [in St Lucia] gives me confidence," he said. 

"Short, sharp burst, four-five overs, give it everything I've got. The outfield is quite green so [you have] got to be clever working on the ball and look after it well."

England captain Joe Root pledged not to take any risks over the fitness of pace bowlers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood on the eve of the third Test against South Africa.

A Ben Stokes-inspired England squared the four-match series at one apiece thanks to a thrilling victory on the final session in Cape Town eight days ago.

Glory came at a price, however, with James Anderson ruled out of the remainder of the tour due to a rib problem.

It means a potential opening for Wood or Archer – both of whom are capable of frequently topping 90 mph - providing their own injury complaints are in order.

Archer sat out the previous Test due to an elbow issue, while Wood has not played competitively since England's Cricket World Cup final win over South Africa in June.

"That decision hasn't been made," Root told a news conference, with regards to Anderson's replacement.

"It's important to use [Wednesday's] session and make sure we've got a really clear understanding of where everybody is at.

"We need to find that out and make sure we're really clear going into a five-day game that they are able to stand up to the challenges that will bring, physically and mentally, having not played for a little while.

"It is the sensible thing to do to hold off, get more information on the pitch and more information on where they're at.

"If they've proven themselves to be fit, if they've jumped through every hoop and worked very hard to get back there, you have to give them that opportunity."

Chris Woakes represents an alternative if England opt not to chance Archer or Wood, but there is no doubt selecting either of the speed merchants carries added allure.

Wood's most recent Test outing saw him claim first-innings figures of 5-41 thanks to a searing spell before being named man of the match in a 232-run demolition of West Indies in St Lucia.

"With Mark, if you look at the last summer of cricket he played, he actually got through a lot of cricket injury-free which is testament to how hard he's worked on his rehab and making sure his body can cope with different things. He's been managed well by the medical staff," Root said.

"The reason we've been quite cautious in terms of rushing him back is that history. If he's 100 per cent, bowling at 90mph-plus, the skills he has at that pace are going to cause problems and will be a great asset in Test cricket."

Root confirmed a specialist spinner will feature in the England attack in Port Elizabeth, with Dom Bess expected to keep his place ahead of the uncapped Matt Parkinson after Jack Leach returned home due to illness.

England's difference-maker could once again be Stokes, who was honoured by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as its Player of the Year after a phenomenal 2019 in red and white-ball formats.

"It is hard to say any more superlatives, it is the right decision and it could not really have been anyone else," his captain added.

"The way he has performed across all the formats has been fantastic. In my opinion he is definitely the leading player in the world at the moment."

Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes are locked in a battle for a spot in England's bowling attack for the third Test with South Africa. 

Fielding coach Paul Collingwood revealed the trio were all in contention to replace the injured James Anderson in Port Elizabeth.

With the series tied at 1-1, the tourists will hope to build on their impressive 189-run victory in the second Test, with Archer, Wood and Woakes eyeing a spot in the line-up.

"They've an opportunity over the next two training sessions to prove to us they should be the one in the team," said Collingwood.

"It's actually really nice to be able to come into a Test being able to choose from players who are 100 per cent ready to go.

"Here at PE [Port Elizabeth] it's generally a slower pitch, so sometimes having that kind of X-factor can be great.

"Sunday's training session was one of the best we've had for a long time.

"We saw bowlers really running in against the batters. They were really making it difficult for them. If we can do that more often, then our education as a team will grow very strongly and very quickly."

Responding to suggestions that Archer had lost his way after bursting onto the scene with England last year, Collingwood jumped to the 24-year-old's defence.

"He's very early on in his international career," he said. "He hasn't bowled a lot with the Kookaburra ball, which requires a completely different skillset from the Dukes. 

"His main skill is bowling 90 miles per hour plus. We have enough bowlers in and around the county circuit who can bowl at 82 to 85 miles per hour and try to nip it around. 

"You want the likes of Wood and Archer to give you that X-factor.”

The third Test begins on Thursday.

Mark Wood is nearing full fitness and is keen to reignite his speed-gun rivalry with Jofra Archer on England's tour of South Africa.

Durham paceman Wood has not played since the Cricket World Cup final in July, having powered through a side strain to bowl at 95 miles per hour and help his country win the trophy.

The 30-year-old, who also underwent knee surgery during his time out, bowled 35 overs last week and said he will be ready for the third Test in Port Elizabeth, though he could be held back until the final match in Johannesburg.

When he does return, and with James Anderson ruled out for the rest of the series due to a rib injury, Wood wants to resume his competition with Archer.

"I do like the idea of the two of us operating together in a Test match," said Wood. "As long as he's not at mid-off asking me if I'm just warming up when I've bent my back.

"Playing alongside him did spur me on so maybe it will help. We have a friendly rivalry over the speed gun. In the World Cup when I put one up on the speed gun that was quite quick I'd just look over to Jofra and give him a little wink. Then he'd do the same to me.

"In the World Cup final I knew that I'd pipped him. I was clocked at 95.7 miles per hour and he was 95.6 miles per hour and as we came off the field and into the dressing room I was dying to tell him.

"I said to him as he walked in, 'Jofra, I've got you! I've done you on the speed gun!' and he strolled past fresh as a daisy and looked me up and down with an ice pack on my side, an ice pack on my knee and an ice pack on my ankle and just said, 'Yeah, but I think I'd rather be me.' I was like, 'Yeah, fair enough mate'.

"Deep down he's trying to prove that he's the meanest, toughest fast bowler out there. And so am I. We both want each other to do well, but we both want to be the quickest guy on show. But he's more talented than I am."

Wood believes Archer and Chris Woakes are ahead of him in the pecking order but finally feels comfortable with his position in the squad.

"I'm not even in the team at the minute but I feel much happier within myself," he says. "I feel I'm an England cricketer rather than just someone that's always pushing to try and get into the team. I feel a slightly different cricketer to what I did before.

"I have the World Cup and the St Lucia Test [when Wood claimed his maiden five-wicket Test haul] under my belt. The West Indies was a huge trip for me. I really felt I was in the last chance saloon; I'd had a lot of injuries.

"I have felt that if I get fit then there's no reason why I can't do that again. The St Lucia Test is lodged in my mind as one of the best days I've had. If I can replicate that I'll be pretty happy.

"And confidence is a massive thing. Now I know that I can do it. There's been games where I've played for England where I shouldn't have played and that's affected my record and my confidence.

"With those good performances and having some success under my belt, it means that I can go into rehab knowing how it feels when it's good.

"It's not just potential now. I know I can perform. I know now I can deliver if called upon."

England will leave it late to make a decision on Jofra Archer's fitness, while Mark Wood and Jack Leach have been ruled out of the second Test against South Africa at Newlands.

Archer has been struggling with an elbow injury and the paceman is a doubt for the match in Cape Town, which starts on Friday.

Spinner Leach is not ready for a recall after being badly affected by the sickness bug that has swept through the camp and fast bowler Wood is still recovering from side and knee problems.

Captain Joe Root said when asked about Archer's availability: "It will be another late call.

"Not knowing exactly how Jofra is might change how we balance the side up.

"I think it's a recurring injury and he's had it before. He did pull up very sore [on Wednesday] and seemed to be in a little pain."

The Proteas lead the four-match series 1-0 after securing a 109-run victory at Centurion.

Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Jos Buttler are among the England players to be rested for the ODI series against South Africa, but they will return for the Twenty20s.

All-rounder Stokes, paceman Archer, wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler and quick Mark Wood have not been included in a 16-man squad for three ODIs in February.

Seamer Pat Brown, batsman Tom Banton, spinner Matt Parkinson and fast bowler Saqib Mahmood are included for the first time in the 50-over format.

Joe Root is among eight players from England's triumphant Cricket World Cup squad to be selected, but the Test captain will not feature in the T20 series - which comes after the ODIs.

Moeen Ali and Jason Roy were included in both squads after missing the tour of New Zealand. 

There is no place for Banton, Sam Billings, Lewis Gregory, Mahmood and James Vince in a party of 16 for the contests in the shortest format.

England national selector Ed Smith said: "These two squads were selected with an eye on the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020.

"In the T20s, a number of players who were rested for the successful 3-2 victory in New Zealand return to the squad: Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Jason Roy.

"We want to expand the pool of players who can perform successfully for England, while also helping the team to peak for major tournaments."

 

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Pat Brown, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Matt Parkinson, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Chris Woakes.

England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (captain) Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Pat Brown, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Matt Parkinson, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood. 

Jonny Bairstow will work with Jonathan Trott in South Africa in a bid to regain his place in the England Test side.

The wicketkeeper-batsman was dropped for the ongoing Test series in New Zealand after a disappointing Ashes on home soil.

Bairstow – who played against the Black Caps in a 3-2 Twenty20 series win - will fly out to Potchefstroom to be coached by former England batsman Trott in December.

In a statement, the England and Wales Cricket Board said the trip has been scheduled for the 30-year-old right-hander “with the aim of returning to the Test squad”.

James Anderson and Mark Wood will step up their rehabilitation from injury as they strive to prove their fitness for the upcoming tour of South Africa.

Fellow seamers Olly Stone, Craig Overton and Ollie Robinson will also attend a specialist pace bowling camp, which will be held in Potchefstroom between December 1-14.

Sri Lanka legend Rangana Herath, meanwhile, will pass on his expertise to spinners Dom Bess, Mason Crane and Amar Virdi.

Batsmen Will Jacks, James Bracey, Dan Lawrence, Keaton Jennings and Sam Hain are to benefit from the wisdom of former England batsman and current Surrey assistant head coach Vikram Solanki.

New Zealand consigned England to an innings defeat in the first Test at Mount Maunganui on Monday.

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