Australia v England - 1st Test: Day 2
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 09: Ben Stokes of England bowls during day two of the First Test Match in the Ashes series between Australia and England at The Gabba on December 09, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images) (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Australia v England - 1st Test: Day 2

Once both part of the Durham academy, Ben Stokes and Mark Wood have seen each other's successes grow since their teenage years.

The duo have now shared the international field 77 times together after sealing a series win against Pakistan.

After an extended period out of the game with injuries to his elbow and hip, Mark Wood helped guide captain Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum's side to an eighth win from nine games.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25: Ben Stokes of England celebrates hitting the winning runs to win the 3rd Specsavers Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Headingley on August 25, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

With the bat, Wood knocked 36 not out and 6, and with the ball he took 2/40 and a match-winning 4/65.

Wood was full of praise for his lifelong mate and captain Ben Stokes after securing the series win.

“It's weird, the lad I grew up with,” Wood said.

“Stokesy now is much more mature. He speaks so well – he's always had a fantastic cricket brain. But the way he comes across, the way he conducts himself and the messages that he gives, he's just so much more rounded than when we were growing up.”

“He was this alpha guy who would whack it, never back down. He's still got all that, but he's got other sides to him now. He'll put an arm round people, express what he means articulately. I didn't think he has some of the words in his locker. But he's been world-class, to be fair.”

Wood bowled 21 overs in Pakistan's second innings. This was the same as Joe Root as part of the different tactics England are utilising. Fast bowlers such as Mark Wood being used in high energy but shorter bursts.

Wood delivered when Stokes needed him to, dismissing the key wickets. He dismissed Abdullah Shafique on 45, Saud Shakeel on 94, and Mohammad Nawaz on 45. He also knocked over Zahid Mahwood for a duck.

“We tried reverse and he played really nicely so we thought we would try something different,” Wood said. “Stokesy asked me to be a game-changer just before lunch, asked me to mix it up. He was really clever with his fields. When you bowl short, people think you just whack it in but you have to get the line and height right.”

“We pulled the three-quarter man into leg slip and all of a sudden, he has played a shot down the leg side whereas before he was standing up and leaving it because he didn't want to take it on. I am really glad we managed to get the plans right.”

It is unknown how long Wood will continue in red-ball cricket. With the effort Wood puts into his bowling and his express pace, he knows his time may be limited. With many others in his position opting to just play shorter formats which requires less time in the field and less bowling overs. Considering Wood's injury history, this choice will be a consideration for him at some point.

Wood admitted he “wondered if I'd go white-ball only.” Additionally noting, “At some point my body will say that it's the way to go but I didn't prepare for white-ball, I prepared for all cricket. I desperately wanted to experience all this, with Stokesy and Brendon, so I'm pleased I've stuck with it. And I'm pleased we won here. I'd have been gutted if we'd won, I'd come in and we'd lost. They'd have been pointing fingers at me”.

In white-ball cricket, Wood has recently retained a massive IPL deal with the Lucknow Super Giants. His deal is worth roughly $1.33 million AUD.

England play their last Test against Pakistan on December 17 with England up 2-0 in the series.