Wood, England’s fastest bowler and the man on whom their hopes of breakthroughs might have been pinned on a sluggish surface at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, had been a late arrival in the morning session after receiving strapping on the injury.
After an injury-plagued start to his Test career, including three ankle operations in the space of 12 months in 2016, Wood has enjoyed a sustained run of fitness in recent times – partly attributed to his decision to revert to a longer, smoother run-up after a sprinter’s style approach in his early years. He was England’s stand-out bowler in an otherwise dismal Ashes series, claiming 17 wickets at 26.64 in four Tests, making this the busiest winter of his 26-Test career.
“[The elbow’s] pretty sore at the moment,” Paul Collingwood, England’s interim head coach, said, adding that it was an issue that Wood had not previously encountered. “We’re going to have to assess him overnight and see if he is going to be available for the second innings
“I’m not too sure [what it is], all I know at this moment is it’s soreness in the elbow. He didn’t feel that confident this morning, but then he got it strapped up, and it felt okay. Then he tried another over in another spell and it didn’t feel so good. We’ll get the anti-inflammatories into him overnight, get him iced up and see how he is tomorrow.
“You need those kind of guys, 90mph guys who can reverse-swing the ball in these conditions. They are gold dust in these conditions. So it will be disappointing if he’s not involved in the second innings, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
“It’s fair to say that he declared himself fit to bowl in this first innings,” Collingwood said. “None of us were expecting that many overs out of him. Obviously we had to be pretty cautious with the approach but then, Ben being Ben, he went out there, and felt great. He’s done everything so far on this tour to get himself fit. His attitudes has been absolutely superb. And he’s shown today what kind of a warrior he is.”
That determined attitude, Collingwood said, was applicable to the rest of England’s team too. “Today was probably one of the best efforts I’ve seen in England shirt and Test cricket,” he said. “To go for 170 runs and five wickets on that today is a pretty good effort, especially backing that up from two sessions in the field yesterday. I thought the fitness levels the guys showed, the attitude in the field was exceptional.
“If you know anything about cricket, then you’ll realise how that pitch is playing. It was tough, hard work out there. It’s a placid pitch. It’s a docile pitch. I think all of us expected it to break up a lot more than it has done and start turning. Sometimes you can look at the scoreboard and see you haven’t bowled them out but I thought the attitude was superb today.”
Broad and Anderson, however, are not expected to be called up as reinforcements, with Collingwood stating after Robinson’s injury last week that England were “not about to panic”.
“Ollie is making great progress,” Collingwood said. “He bowled a good spell this morning and he’ll have a couple of spells tomorrow. I’m hopeful that he can be there and thereabouts for the second Test.”
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket