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England the team they all want to beat: Wood

 

Return to form: Mark Wood has called on England to bounce back from their defeat to Pakistan
Return to form: Mark Wood has called on England to bounce back from their defeat to Pakistan

By Rory Dollard

Mark Wood has warned England have "a huge target on our back" as they look to get their World Cup campaign back on track against Bangladesh.

Defeat to an unfancied Pakistan on Monday shifted the narrative for Eoin Morgan's World No.1s, who had kicked off the tournament with a commanding victory over South Africa.

Their fallibility is now a matter of record, undone on their favourite Trent Bridge pitch by opponents they had just defeated 4-0 only weeks ago.

Questions abound - over the curiously ragged fielding performance in Nottingham, over the opening pair's ability to face spin early on and Moeen Ali's increasingly unreliable batting at number seven.

Yet Wood believes England are still the competition's biggest scalp and called for them to serve up a performance fitting of that status against the Tigers on Saturday.

"We have a huge target on our back because we are the favourites for the tournament, the home side, and everyone wants to beat us," he said.

"I think what we have done well over the years is bounce back well and I think we need that going into the next match. We need to bounce back with a bit of authority and say 'we're here to win it', put on a real show."

Wood is known for his upbeat demeanour, but acknowledged there was no time for smiles after the Pakistan result.

"The mood is not always good," he admitted. "We've been so used to winning that when you do lose, it's not a nice feeling. The lads were really disappointed in the dressing room because we lost a game for England, which never comes easy.

"The best thing is that the captain is quite calm so he just addressed where we weren't good enough. When we win, he doesn't get too high. When we lose, he doesn't get too low.

"There are lessons learned, but we've been learning lessons for four years. This isn't a thing where we say we need to change the wheel."

Wood did not play in the win over South Africa, drafted in place of Liam Plunkett as England attempted to exploit perceived pace weaknesses in the Pakistan line-up. He was comfortably the pick of the England seamers, but Plunkett's trademark ability to make breakthroughs in the middle of the innings ultimately proved a loss.

The 34-year-old looks likely to return at Sophia Gardens but may well line up alongside Wood rather than instead of him. The former Durham team-mates have a friendship far stronger than any selectorial rivalry and Wood discovered a new-found respect for Plunkett when he tried to step into his shoes.

"Liam has taken a million wickets in the middle overs and I was thinking the first thing I have to do is get a wicket," he said of his new role as the first-change bowler.

"I didn't get a wicket until the 43rd and I was there thinking he's still the main man!

"Cardiff is a place with big square boundaries, and Liam has bowled well there in the past so he would probably come back in. It's just who for or which bowler might be left out, I don't think my place is guaranteed."

Meanwhile, Jason Holder expects talismanic duo Chris Gayle and Andre Russell to be fit for the West Indies' second World Cup fixture against Australia at Trent Bridge today.

Russell was the orchestrator of the Windies' highly successful bumper ploy against Pakistan, who were all out for 105 last week in an inadequate total that was overhauled courtesy of Gayle's typically attacking half-century.

However, Russell left the field shortly before the end of Pakistan's innings with knee trouble, while Gayle was seen feeling his lower back and walked gingerly back to the pavilion.

Holder revealed Russell is slightly more of a concern, although the all-rounder had an extended session batting in training yesterday afternoon and did not seem to be impeded by his injury.

The Windies captain said: "We have had a few days off and they have been recovering quite nicely. We expect both to be fit and ready to go. We have still got some time before the game so we will make a decision in the morning.

"I think the beauty about both of those guys is that they've played enough cricket. We just tend to trust them, take their word and then make a final determination.

"Chris was at practice for the last couple of days so Chris, for me, is all well and ready to go. Andre will be assessed again. We're hopeful that he will be fit."

The Windies' demolition job over Pakistan was followed by Sarfaraz Ahmed's side bouncing back to beat tournament hosts and favourites England on Monday.

But Holder was coy when asked whether victory in their tournament opener lends credence to their hopes of going all the way.

He said: "I don't think so. It's a wide-open tournament, all 10 teams are capable of lifting the World Cup. That's why we are here, we are the 10 best teams in the world."

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