England were dealt a cruel blow just 3 days before departing for their tour of Sri Lanka, as scans confirmed that Mark Wood has a small tear in his left side that will rule him out of both tests in the sub-continent.
Wood who has experienced several injuries over his career was the stand out bowler during England's recent tour of South Africa, often delivering balls well in excess of 90mpm.
He was named man of the match in Johannesburg as he skittled the South Africans to the tune of 9 for 100. He bowled some devastating spells of pure pace and hostility to put South Africa on the back foot. England will now travel to Sri Lanka without two of their fastest bowlers in Wood and Archer, who was ruled out some time ago.
It's been revealed that Lancashire seamer Saqib Mahmood will replace Wood in the squad. Mahmood is yet to make his test debut, although he did recently debut for the T20 side in New Zealand and the ODI side in South Africa.
Mahmood has 42 first-class wickets to his name for Lancashire and he'll be hoping to make his debut on pitches where seam bowlers tend to have to generate their own pace due to the conditions. So even if he doesn't play, this will be a good experience with a tour of India on the horizon.
This is a really cruel blow for Mark Wood who has only appeared in 15 tests in 5 years due to a number of injuries, mostly to his ankle. He did work to extend his run-up to generate more of a rhythm to avoid extra strain, this allowed him to perform in South Africa but has yet to result in a long period of injury-free cricket.
When you have a bowler who touches 90mph+ consistently, you have to be careful to not overuse them. Silverwood recently spoke about the possibility of England rotating Archer and Wood in an effort to keep them all fit.
England did try and manage Wood's workload in South Africa with him being rested for the ODI series which fell between the tests and T20's.
Mahmood joins Stuart Broad, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes as the seam options for Sri Lanka.