England captain Joe Root, on Wednesday (July 26), confirmed injured fast-bowler Mark Wood would make way for Toby Roland-Jones for the upcoming third Test against South Africa starting on Thursday (July 27). Wood was ruled out with the heel soreness he picked up during the second Test at Trent Bridge. Wood also had a dismal outing at Trent Bridge as he had failed to pick up a solitary wicket.
Steven Finn has been called into the squad as cover but Root confirmed that Roland-Jones would replace Wood in the playing eleven. Roland-Jones, who made his ODI earlier this season against South Africa, has taken 22 wickets at 35.63 in the County Championship this season.
“Woody is not 100% fit so he’s going to miss out this week and Toby is going to come in and make his debut. Toby has looked really good in the lead-up to the other games. He’s had a fine couple of years and these are exciting times for anyone when they’re making their debut. Really excited for him and I’m sure he’ll be desperate to show everyone what he can do with a red ball for England,” confirmed Root.
The 29-year old’s inclusion in the playing eleven means England will certainly go in with two debutants for the crunch clash against the Proteas. Tom Westley has been already confirmed as Gary Ballance’s replacement as England are looking to bounce back after being thrashed by 340 runs in the second Test.
Meanwhile, England could play a third debutant too if they decide to go in with Middlessex batsman Dawid Malan in place of spinner Liam Dawson. Root said the final decision will be taken after assessing the pitch which was under the covers during England’s practise session.
“I think it’s important to look at the surface and decide what’s going to be the best side to play South Africa in those conditions. So, we’ll turn up tomorrow, take a look at the wicket and make a decision,” Root noted.