Mag­nif­i­cent Woakes Lord’s it over In­dia

Bangkok Post - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: Chris Woakes con­tin­ued a su­perb re­turn to Eng­land duty with a maiden Test cen­tury against In­dia at Lord’s on Sat­ur­day as the home side took a firm grip on the match.

When bad light forced an early close on the third day, Eng­land were 357 for six in re­ply to In­dia’s mea­gre first-in­nings 107 — a com­mand­ing lead of 250 runs.

Woakes was 120 not out, hav­ing shared a part­ner­ship of 189 with Jonny Bairstow (93) that was an Eng­land record for the sixth wicket in Test matches against In­dia, beat­ing the 171 put on by Ian Botham and Bob Tay­lor at Bom­bay (now Mumbai) in 1980.

It was a stand made all the more valu­able by the fact Eng­land had slumped to 98 for four at lunch, af­ter their lat­est top-or­der col­lapse threat­ened to undo the bowlers’ good work.

War­wick­shire favourite Woakes, re­called af­ter Eng­land omit­ted Ben Stokes be­cause of a clash with his fel­low pace-bowl­ing all­rounder’s trial for af­fray, had missed the hosts’ 31-run win in the first Test at his Edg­bas­ton home ground last week be­cause of fit­ness con­cerns fol­low­ing knee and calf in­juries.

The 29-year-old had al­ready proved his worth with the ball by tak­ing two for 19 on Fri­day, in­clud­ing the prize scalp of In­dia cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli.

And in his 25th match at this level, Woakes sur­passed his pre­vi­ous Test best of 66, made against Sri Lanka at Lord’s two years ago, be­fore com­plet­ing a 129-ball hun­dred, in­clud­ing 15 fours, with a pulled three off Hardik Pandya.

His in­nings, which has been in progress more than three-and-a-half hours, meant Woakes’ name was now on all three Lord’s hon­ours boards that record cen­turies, fivewicket in­nings re­turns and 10-wicket match hauls in Tests at the ‘home of cricket’.

Woakes took six for 70 and five for 32 in a match re­turn of 11 for 102 against Pak­istan at Lord’s in 2016.

“It’s hard to put into words, I sup­pose” Woakes told Sky Sports. “I didn’t have that [a Test cen­tury] on my radar at the start of the day.

“It’s an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing to raise your bat at Lord’s and be on that hon­ours board,” he added.

“I went from 60 to 80 pretty quickly and all of a sud­den started think­ing about it. The 90s were a bit of a blur but I am so pleased to get there.”

The only sad­ness for Eng­land was that wick­et­keeper Bairstow did not reach three fig­ures as well.

In­stead he fell seven short when bril­liantly caught one-handed by div­ing op­pos­ing wicket-keeper Di­nesh Karthik off Pandya.

Sat­ur­day’s play re­sumed with Eng­land yet to be­gin their re­ply af­ter James An­der­son, in over­cast con­di­tions ideal for swing bowl­ing, had taken five for 20 on Fri­day fol­low­ing Thurs­day’s to­tal washout.

By con­trast, Eng­land’s in­nings com­menced un­der sunny blue skies that promised to make life eas­ier for the bats­men.

Ishant Sharma, whose Test-best seven for 44 against Eng­land sealed In­dia’s 95-run win in the cor­re­spond­ing Lord’s clash four years ago, bowled the first over.

But it was new-ball part­ner Mo­hammed Shami who made the break­through when Keaton Jen­nings (11) was lbw play­ing across the line.

Five balls later Jen­nings’s fel­low left­handed opener Alas­tair Cook (21) was out as well, caught be­hind off a su­perb Sharma de­liv­ery from around the wicket that squared him up and seamed away be­fore find­ing the out­side edge.

The exit of Eng­land’s all-time lead­ing Test run-scorer meant 20-year-old debu­tant bats­man Ol­lie Pope walked out with the hosts in trou­ble at 32 for two.

Pope made a promis­ing 28 be­fore he was lbw to Pandya.

And to what be­came the last ball be­fore lunch, Eng­land cap­tain Joe Root was lbw for 19 to an off-cut­ter from Shami, who also had Jos But­tler (24) leg be­fore in a stumps re­turn of three for 74 in 19 overs.

Both off-spin­ner Ravichan­dran Ash­win and re­called left-arm wrist-spin­ner Kuldeep Ya­dav went wick­et­less, with In­dia hav­ing cause to re­gret drop­ping pace­man Umesh Ya­dav.

Woakes was for the most part ad­mirably straight in both de­fence and at­tack, as ex­em­pli­fied by a clas­sic on-drive for four off Pandya.

But he demon­strated his range with a ver­ti­cal-bat flick down to fine leg when Ash­win strayed in di­rec­tion.


Eng­land’s Chris Woakes cel­e­brates scor­ing a cen­tury.

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