Mark Wood decided to step it up after his explosive return to England

Speed ​​machine Mark Wood had one word for how he felt after hitting an eye-popping 97mph for the first time since March – “tired”.

Wood missed the entire England summer with an elbow injury sustained during the Test match in Antigua and suffered a longer-than-expected recovery from surgery.

However, he scored 63 runs in Friday’s Twenty20 win over Pakistan to make his return to action worth the wait.

He hit the kind of pace that only the fastest bowlers in history can claim, hitting the 97mph barrier twice, making three for 25 from four overs in Karachi.

The 32-year-old had too much heat for Babar Azam, Iftikhar Ahmed and Haris Rauf and put every scrap of energy into his spell.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, he said: “I feel tired. It’s my first game for England since March and I’ve played one game for my club team at Ashington so it’s been a long time.

“You tend to be a bit fresh after seven months out, so that’s what I’m betting on. But at the end I felt a bit tired. I know it’s a T20, but that’s the intensity of international cricket.

I’ve been doing a lot of gym time, a lot of running, but nothing beats playing the game. This is the intensity of international cricket

“I’ve been doing a lot of gym time, a lot of running, but nothing’s the same as playing the game.”

England will certainly be keeping a close eye on a player who can do things that no one else on their roster is capable of.

It may mean the tourists sit 2-1 up in the fourth match of the Twenty20 series on Sunday, but they have a clear view that he will be at the top of his game when the World Cup begins in Australia next month.

“The challenge now is to back it up – can I keep up those speeds? I’m probably living on an ice machine right now, so I’m staying on this ice machine,” Wood added.

“It’s important for me that I don’t push myself too hard now and then I’m not ready for Australia. I need to peak at the right time so when it comes to the World Cup I’m fit and ready to work.

“Today was a good day. When you haven’t played for a while, the adrenaline is flying, it’s like a debut. The crowd was flying. But next time it’s a challenge, can I do it again?

England’s batsmen gave Wood a great platform to work from, blasting 221 for three as three of their most inexperienced batsmen were superb.

Will Jacks scored a mighty 40 on debut, Harry Brook made an unbeaten 81 and Ben Duckett made 70 not out.

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