Pace ace Mark Wood thrilled with five-star Headingley Ashes entrance
Wood, playing his first Test since December, said: “It was an incredible feeling to get five wickets. My mum and dad were here and to raise the ball to them was special; it was the first time they’ve seen me get five wickets.
“That was a lovely moment, and the team is in a good position. If the sun is out tomorrow, and we can bat well, we can really pull the game in our favour.
“The outfield is rock hard and rapid, and we can score quickly if the lads get in.”
Wood, 33, said that he was fit for the first Test at Edgbaston before an elbow problem flared up at Lord’s.
All good things come to those who wait, however, as the Durham man made his dramatic entrance.
“I was fit for the first game and, coming into Lord’s, I felt in a really good place,” he said.
“I was chomping at the bit to get a game but had a little bit of a setback at Lord’s with my elbow.
“Ashes cricket is something you always want to be a part of, so I’m really, really happy to play; I felt mentally and physically ready to go.
“Leading into the game, I felt I had good rhythm and snap, although there were one or two nerves flying around.”
Wood said he had a point to prove - his record in England is not as good as it is overseas - and he felt that the movement he was able to extract on a mostly cloudy day was the most significant factor as opposed to his pace.
That pace saw him reach the mid-to-high 90s - he later ruled out breaking the 100 mph barrier, even with the wind behind him, quipping that it would “have to be a pretty strong wind”.
“My record isn’t great in England, but I managed to move the ball,” he explained.
“I feel that’s what got me the wickets - not just the speed.
“I felt I had a point to prove here because I’ve done most of my stuff away from home.
“My average pace could still be quicker, but I’m pretty satisfied overall.”
Wood paid tribute to Mitchell Marsh, who held the Australia innings together with a magnificent 118.
It was Marsh’s first appearance of the series too - in fact, his first Test outing since the Oval Test against England in September 2019.
“Mitch Marsh won the battle against me,” reflected Wood, with Chris Woakes the man who eventually claimed his wicket.
“His knock was pretty special on a wicket where it was pretty tough, and he made us feel as a bowling group that things had completely changed, the ball had gone soft and the wicket flat.
“It was a good time for ‘Woaksey’ to get that wicket because Mitch was on song today and difficult to bowl at.”