Sunderland Echo - - Sport -

Durham pace bowler Mark Wood staked his claim for an Ashes call-up by im­press­ing with the bat for Eng­land Lions.

Wood teamed up with for­mer club-mate Paul Cough­lin as the Lions took on a Western Aus­tralia XI in Perth, where the Third Ashes Test will start next week.

Wood fired an im­pres­sive 51 off 52 balls, while Sun­der­land-born Cough­lin, who has joined Not­ting­hamshire from Durham, hit 64 from 49 de­liv­er­ies as the tourists made 282 in 50 overs.

De­spite those ef­forts, the Lions suc­cumbed by six wick­ets, with 21-year-old Clint Hinch­liffe post­ing an ex­cel­lent century (131) and wick­et­keeper Calum How un­beaten on 80 as the home side reached their vic­tory tar­get with 11 balls to spare at the Mur­doch Univer­sity ground.

Wood claimed two of the four wick­ets to fall, for the loss of 56 runs in his 10 overs, and said: “We bowled well as a pace group, be­cause it was a 350 pitch, and the con­di­tions were some­thing I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence out here.

“The grounds­man warned us about the wind from Fre­man­tle, and it was gale force.

“We had the pace bowlers run­ning into it, and the spin­ners bowl­ing with it, so their bat­ters wouldn’t be hit­ting the spin­ners down­wind.

“Maybe we should have mixed it up a bit, but it was re­ally hard work.

“But, for me, it was nice to get some more overs un­der my belt – the more I bowl, the more con­fi­dence it gives me. I felt like I bowled sharp again, and kept the ball rolling with the up­ward trend I’m on.

“I en­joyed the bat­ting too, es­pe­cially with Paul.

“We’re good friends from Durham, so we know each other’s game pretty well – so even though we were in a bit of bother when I came in to join him, we kept it re­laxed and rel­a­tively sim­ple.

“I’m re­ally pleased to see him do so well, and to show the coaches out here what he can do.

“He had a bit of an in­jury scare in our three-day game in Bris­bane, when his knee got stuck in the turf af­ter he’d dived for a ball and was try­ing to get up quickly to throw.

“You think of the Si­mon Jones in­ci­dent, but, for­tu­nately, it only turned out to be bruis­ing.

“That was painful for him for a while, but he’s showed to­day what he can do – he bowled well as well.”

The Lions have a T20 match at the same venue to­day. If Wood does not force his way into the Ashes squad, he can look for­ward to three T20 games against Big Bash League club Perth Scorchers at the new 55,000-ca­pac­ity Perth Sta­dium.

Mark Wood.

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