Mark Wood has spent the winter dreaming of a hero’s return for England but got a significant variation on the story he envisaged in Christchurch.
Wood, in his first Test since last July following a lengthy recurrence of ankle injuries, helped Jonny Bairstow turn the tourists’ fortunes around against New Zealand.
Instead of a maiden five-wicket haul on day one of this second and final Test, No 9 Wood hit a career-best 52 as he and Bairstow (97no) engineered a recovery from 164-7 to 290-8.
The increasingly adventurous stand of 95 between a pair who have known one another for a long time offset eight wickets shared by Tim Southee and Trent Boult.
Alluding to his tale of the unexpected, Wood said: “The worrying thing is I’ve got a (Test) 50 before a five-for – so I’ve done that the wrong way round, haven’t I?
“I loved batting out there with Jonny – a lad I’ve played with and against since about 11 or 12 years old. I had loads of fun – I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
The two first met playing in opposition for Northumberland and Yorkshire age-group teams, and the 28-year-old Geordie said: “I like that bit of arrogance about the way Jonny bats... it takes the bowlers off their game-plan, and maybe there was a little bit of panic stations at one point.”