With Mark Wood out with a shoulder injury, Saqib Mahmood and Craig Overton are battling it out for the final spot in England’s bowling attack for the third Test at Headingley
Michael Atherton believes there is very little to chose from between Saqib Mahmood and Craig Overton when deciding who should take up the final spot in England’s bowling attack.
Joe Root’s men take on a fired-up India side following the tourists’ dramatic victory at Lord’s during the second Test after yet another batting collapse by England.
And with spirits low following the defeat at Lord’s, England suffered another blow ahead of the third Test action at Headingley after seamer Mark Wood was ruled out with a shoulder injury.
Lancashire star Mahmood and his Somerset counterpart Overton are seemingly fighting it out for Wood’s vacant spot in the bowling attack.
And former England skipper Atherton insists both bowlers have their advantages, before admitting England’s selection team have a very difficult decision to make – even though he has a slight preference/
Atherton told Sky Sports News on Tuesday: “I think they may go Overton but I think I would probably go Mahmood.
“Overton offers a bit with the bat and is a good slip fielder while Mahmood looked good in that one-day series win over Pakistan so it’s kind of a 50-50 call.
“You could also pick Mahmood and then have the choice between Sam Curran and Overton as all-rounders.
“For some time England have been building up these pace reserves and at one point you had [Jofra] Archer, Olly Stone and Wood.
“Now you have none of those, although it looks like Wood’s injury is not too serious so let’s hope he is back for the fourth Test.”
While question marks still surround the bowling attack, England have already made changes to their batting line-up after their collapse at Lord’s.
Dawid Malan has been recalled for the Headingley Test, and will bat at No 3.
Meanwhile, Haseeb Hameed will open with Rory Burns against India after Dominic Sibley was dropped.
Root knows England must get off to a rapid start in the third Test as his side look to swing the momentum in their favour after India clinched a 1-0 lead in the series last time out.