The Ashes 2023: Mark Wooden lights up Headingley with thrilling spell of quick bowling

The Ashes 2023: Mark Wood lights up Headingley with thrilling spell of fast bowling


A well-known online encyclopaedia defines a fast bowler as someone who “relies on speed to get a batter out”.

Albeit factually correct, that does little to get across the thrill of seeing one of the best in action.

A true fast bowler is cricket’s greatest buzz – a rare skill that bends the laws of physics, of human development, and alerts the senses in the middle and in the stands.

Mark Wood bowled the quickest spell in this country for 18 years on day one of the third Ashes, taking an electric 5-43 and the Headingley crowd with him in a must-win contest for England.

When you think of the great Ashes fast bowlers you think of the ferocity of Australia greats like Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee or Jeff Thomson. Or perhaps strapping England quicks like Fred Trueman, Steve Harmison or Andrew Flintoff.

That is not Wood.

He is slight and wiry. He looks more likely to beat you on a cross-country course than knock you over with raw pace.

At training two days ago he caught the eye of a group of…