Woakes gets call as Root un­veils his Ashes team

The Cricket Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By Chris Stocks at Head­in­g­ley

CHRIS WOAKES has been re­called for the se­cond Test against West Indies as Eng­land stepped up their Ashes prepa­ra­tions by nam­ing the XI that is likely to start that se­ries at the Gabba in Novem­ber.

Woakes, 28, has re­turned from the side strain sus­tained dur­ing the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy in June and will make his first Test ap­pear­ance of the year in place of Toby Roland-Jones for the match which starts to­day.

That is the only change in Eng­land’s team at Head­in­g­ley from the one that thrashed West Indies by an in­nings in­side three days in the se­ries opener at Edg­bas­ton.

Although Roland-Jones has been un­lucky to be dropped af­ter im­press­ing in his first three Tests, Eng­land want to give Woakes suf­fi­cient time on the park ahead of this win­ter’s se­ries in Aus­tralia.

The War­wick­shire all-rounder, who took 41 Test wick­ets at 25.41 and av­er­aged 30.81 with the bat in 2016, is al­most cer­tain to be in Eng­land’s team for the first Test in Bris­bane.

And with just one more match against West Indies at Lord’s be­fore then, now is the time for Woakes to re­turn hav­ing not played since the fourth Test against In­dia at Mum­bai last Novem­ber.

“There’s one change, Woakesy comes in for Toby,” said Eng­land cap­tain Joe Root. “The rea­son is I think if you had looked at the start of the se­ries and Woakesy had been fit he would have come into the team straight away on the back of some re­ally strong per­for­mances in Test cricket.

“It is im­por­tant that Woakesy gets some game time in and it is a great chance for him to prove him­self and come back into the side with a strong per­for­mance.

“He has been phe­nom­e­nal for us. His record last year was out­stand­ing. His chal­lenge will be to back that up. It is great to see guys com­ing into the side tak­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, giv­ing the se­lec­tors headaches and hav­ing to make dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions.”

Roland-Jones has taken 14 wick­ets at 19.35 in his three Tests so far. How­ever, Root be­lieves the Mid­dle­sex bowler’s ab­sence bodes well. “I think it shows we have got a lot of depth in the bowl­ing depart­ment,” he said.

“I think the key is that they keep push­ing each other for their spots. Woakesy has got an op­por­tu­nity this week to take wick­ets and to back up what he has done pre­vi­ously but it is great to know Toby has been very un­for­tu­nate to miss out.”

PIC­TURES: Getty Im­ages

Jump to it: Chris Woakes warms up dur­ing an Eng­land nets ses­sion at Head­in­g­ley

Sorry mate: Joe Root has dropped Toby Roland-Jones

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