Woakes gets England nod for 2nd Test

2016-05-26 15:10
Chris Woakes (File)

Chester-le-Street - Chris Woakes will replace the injured Ben Stokes in England's side for the second Test against Sri Lanka, skipper Alastair Cook said on Thursday.

Durham all-rounder Stokes had already been ruled out of the match at his Chester-le-Street home ground starting on Friday after suffering a knee injury during England's crushing innings and 88-run win in the first of a three-match series at Headingley last week.

Warwickshire's Woakes, a similar player in that he is a pace-bowling all-rounder, comes into the side in the only change to the England team that won inside three days at Yorkshire's headquarters last week after seeing off a challenge from uncapped Nottinghamshire seamer Jake Ball, who once again was kept waiting for a Test debut.

Cook, speaking to reporters at a rainy Chester-le-Street on Thursday, said England's batting order would be adjusted slightly with Jonny Bairstow, who made 140 batting at seven at Headingley, moving up to number six and Moeen Ali promoted to number seven with Woakes in at No.8.

This will be the 27-year-old Woakes's seventh Test.

He marked his inclusion in the squad on Monday by taking a first-class best nine for 36 for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston and earlier this month he scored a hundred in the County Championship.

"Chris Woakes is going to come in for Ben Stokes," said Cook.

"He's going to bat at eight, Jonny and Mo are going to push up."

Asked why Woakes had been chosen ahead of Ball, Cook said: "We enjoyed playing with the balance of this side."

Woakes has had a stop-start Test career since making his debut in 2013 and only averages 21 with the bat and an expensive 63 with the ball.

"This gives Chris another opportunity to play for England. I don't think we've seen the best of him yet in an England shirt," said Cook.

"But he's in fine form for Warwickshire - a nine-for and a hundred in the last two weeks.

"It's disappointing for Ben... He's got that ability to win or change games of cricket very quickly.

"But injuries are part and parcel of a side and we need to learn how to play without him."

For all that England won convincingly, they were 83 for five before Bairstow and opener Alex Hales, with a Test-best 86, turned the innings around.

"It was tough conditions," said Cook. "One false shot and you were out. The way Alex and Jonny played was outstanding.

"A few of us could do with a score," added opener Cook, still 20 runs shy of becoming the first Englishman to score 10 000 runs in Tests.

Nick Compton, out for a duck at Headingley, has spoken openly of how he feels under pressure for his place after a modest tour of South Africa following 85 in the series opener at Durban.

"It's quite refreshing that he's come out and said it in one way," said Cook.

"You're always under pressure when you're playing for England.

"He played some good innings in South Africa, certainly at the start of the tour - that 80-odd, he battled hard and set up a good win. And he's scored two (Test) hundreds already. So he can play at this level.

"Like all of us, he's only a score away, and he needs a score, but he's in a really good place to do that."

Read more on:    england  |  chris woakes  |  cricket


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