Team Stokes 233 (Crawley 43, Robinson 2-7) lead Team Buttler 287 for 5 dec by 54 runs
England allrounder Sam Curran is awaiting the results of a Covid-19 test after being placed in self-isolation at the Ageas Bowl, casting a shadow over the second day of the intra-squad clash.
On the pitch, the battle for bowling places intensified as Jos Buttler’s team, who declared on their day one score of 287 for 5, dismissed Ben Stokes’ side for 233 at stumps.
Injury has kept the country’s quickest bowlers apart since both played key roles in England’s World Cup victory last year, but midway through the morning session they teamed up for a promising eight-over spell that cost just seven runs and yielded the wicket of opener Dom Sibley for 12.
Archer banked the scalp, caught behind flicking the ball down leg-side, but the pair hunted together to unsettle Sibley with pacey short-pitched bowling. Wood might just as easily have been the one celebrating moments earlier, forcing Sibley to fend awkwardly to Ollie Pope, who squandered the chance at short leg.
Wood returned in the afternoon session to take Jonny Bairstow’s outside edge with the first ball of his second spell and finished with spotless figures of 1 for 14 from 11 overs, while Archer returned 2 for 37 after adding Ben Foakes for 38. He received treatment for sore feet late on, understood to be a result of wearing new bowling boots, and was replaced by Surrey’s Amar Virdi – the 29th player involved in the match.
Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson also offered a reminder of his skills, bowling with precision as he accounted for Moeen Ali and Lewis Gregory in a double-wicket maiden.
Stuart Broad could find himself vulnerable to the growing competition, with the fetching white bandana he wore over his lockdown hair more eye-catching than his figures of 0 for 42.
Moeen’s dismissal, lbw for 5, followed a peripheral role with the ball on Wednesday and his hopes of a first Test appearance in a year appear to be receding. Instead, Dom Bess is well placed to hold his place in the side. He bowled more tightly than either Moeen or Jack Leach managed on Wednesday and took a key wicket when he had Keaton Jennings caught at slip before lunch.
Zak Crawley top-scored with 43, a positive innings strewn with neat drives, before he nicked Chris Woakes – yet another able seamer vying for attention. Stokes made his way to 41, and doled out Bess’ only real punishment when he launched him for six and four in the same over, before he was stumped charging Matt Parkinson.