Mark Wood knows adaptation is key to keeping his place

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Mark Wood knows he must continue to adapt to survive as England's third seamer on their Test tour of the United Arab Emirates.

Wood and his fellow bowlers experienced first hand what they already knew in theory, on the final day of their opening warm-up match against Pakistan A - that stamina and patience will be required in spades in the desert over the next month.

It certainly was in Sharjah, where England's hosts replied to 286 for six with 216 for five as they took their turn to bat 90 overs in a match which was destined throughout to be a two-day stalemate.


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England's driving force throughout was not to start with a win but, as will be the case when they return for a second two-day fixture against the same opponents on Thursday and Friday, to fine tune acclimatisation to the extreme temperatures and dry surfaces.

Wood did so as impressively as anyone, rewarded with figures of 13-5-24-1 for bowling against his natural inclinations and ditching the flamboyance encouraged for home series by England's management.

"The type of character I am, I wouldn't say I'm a naturally patient bloke ... (I suppose) I'm hyper-active and want to be in the action all the time," said the 25-year-old.

"But it's the way the cricket is here, and I have to adapt if I want to keep my spot in the team.

"I tried a few different things, tried to be aggressive at times ... but I have to be patient at times as well."

The task facing England in three Tests against Pakistan, starting in Abu Dhabi next week, is a world away from the gung-ho set to they won for the Ashes last summer.

It was Moeen Ali who took most wickets here, three for 41, while Iftikhar Ahmed (92no) and Fawad Alam (55) held England up longest.

But as progress towards that all-important first Test, Wood is convinced the whole team have derived great benefit.

"It was perfect preparation.

"The ball 'reversed' a little bit - which is key for us.

"It's going to be vital during the series that we get the ball moving off the straight - and we managed to do that today."

"We got used, during the summer, to playing this attacking brand of cricket - where we've been trying to blast teams out.

"That aggressive style is what we want to play at home ... (but this) is totally different."

Iftikhar was dropped twice at slip, on 11 and then 61, and Wood added: "If we'd taken our half-chances, I think it would have been a brilliant day - but it's (still) been a good one.

"That's how we're going to win the (Test) series, by taking those half-chances."

He was impressed not just by Moeen but also Adil Rashid.

"The spinners showed today they're going to be vital.

"Moeen Ali, I thought, assessed the conditions really well and bowled a great pace.

"Then Adil Rashid, if chances had been taken off him, I think he's proved he's a wicket-taking bowler.

"I thought they were excellent.

"I think, if we need to break a partnership, those two are going to be vital."

After a night in before play, watching the mock documentary football comedy 'Mike Bassett: England Manager', the tourists have already come up with nicknames for their spin 'twins'.

"'Tweedledee and Tweedledum' are going to be perfect together in these conditions," added Wood.

"We watched 'Mike Bassett' last night, and there was a midfield partnership of 'Tweedledee and Tweedledum' - so I think they're going to get that nickname now."

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