The move comes as a surprise given England’s stated desire for “fast, flat wickets” this summer, leaving them without a genuine fast bowler in the side – though Wood is likely to come into the side at some stage in the series.
But with Stokes himself on course to play a role with the ball in the first Test – he bowled spells in the nets and in the middle on Wednesday morning – Wood has missed out on selection, with England instead opting for Broad’s experience.
Wood has not bowled in a red-ball match since December 2022, when he played two Tests during England’s 3-0 win in Pakistan. Those are his only first-class matches in the last 12 months after he missed last summer through injury.
He is still expected to play a significant role in the series, with a schedule of five Tests in six-and-a-half weeks – including two blocks of back-to-back Tests after the series opener – likely to necessitate rotation among England’s seamers.
While England have made a point of picking their best team for every match since Stokes and Brendon McCullum took over last year, rather than saving players for future Tests, Wood is likely come into contention for the second Test on June 28.
That Test will be staged at Lord’s where England’s attack struggled to make breakthroughs against Ireland’s lower order on an increasingly placid pitch earlier this month, missing the express pace that Wood offers.
It is also a marked change in approach from England’s first Test of the preceding Ashes in Brisbane in 2021-22, when neither Anderson nor Broad was selected for the series opener, with Robinson, Wood and Chris Woakes instead chosen in the same XI for the first time.
Bowling exclusively from around the wicket, Broad dismissed Warner seven times in the most recent Ashes series in England four years ago – including twice at Edgbaston in the first Test.
The other England players to miss out from their 16-man squad are seamers Josh Tongue, Matthew Potts and Chris Woakes, and Dan Lawrence, the spare batter.
England XI: 1 Zak Crawley, 2 Ben Duckett, 3 Ollie Pope, 4 Joe Root, 5 Harry Brook, 6 Ben Stokes (capt), 7 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 8 Moeen Ali, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Ollie Robinson, 11 James Anderson.