Wood was not all that surprised. He was the only seamer in the attack, and bowled just two overs in his opening stint on day one. It was part of a broader plan concocted in the lead-up to the series to use the seamers as a point of difference. Wood’s extra pace and ability to reverse-swing the ball would be in bursts, with the spinners doing the bulk of the work.
“When we were at the ground, he said probably one or two,” Wood said on his instructions from Stokes. “I mean, I thought I may not even open the bowling second innings. But it was like ‘one over; that’s it’.
“So that was a bit weird. Especially when the captain says you’re going to bowl one over with the new ball and it was a bit like, right, I’ll practice one over with the new ball.
“Very rarely would you think you’d bowl one over and then be off. But weirdly I trust what he says. One over? Right, okay, I’ll give it everything for this over. And then he said ‘rest’ and I’m not annoyed. Like, I get it, we’re going to spin now. So it’s just a bit different.”
Nevertheless, Wood enjoyed the lone role, even if he missed the company of another seamer. And overall, he regarded it as a success given the bigger picture.
“Bumrah didn’t do me any favours by bowling like a genius,” Wood said. “That was tough!
“It was a bit odd, a bit weird at times. Usually at points during the game I’d think ‘I might bowl here’ but the spin is doing the damage.
“I said to Jimmy [Anderson] that I found it more bizarre that I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I was sort of working it out as I went along. Usually if Jimmy is bowling a spell he can say to me ‘this worked well’, or ‘what about this?’ You are talking to the captain and not really knowing how it’s going to go.
“It’s like, yes, that ball reversed, let’s try this, so that was probably the only thing that was different. I’m disappointed that I didn’t get any wickets but not really fussed, because the team played amazing. One of the great games that I’ve been involved in.”
“It could, yeah,” Wood replied, when asked if India might switch things up. “I don’t know what they will produce. India have got the potential to produce any wicket here. I’ve played in World Cup games and IPL games where it’s seamed, flat pitches, spinning wickets. They have the potential to do any wicket they want.
“We’ve won one game, it’s a hell of an achievement, but I don’t think we need to get too far ahead of ourselves. Don’t build this up now and say, “ah we’re going to win”. It’s the same again. Go into the next game with the same belief, same process and hopefully get the same result.”
Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo