England vs India: Ton-up Chris Woakes more than just Ben Stokes stand-in


Chris Woakes continued a superb return to England duty with a maiden Test century against India at Lord’s on Saturday.

The 29-year-old was recalled for the second Test of this five-match series after England omitted fellow pace-bowling all-rounder Ben Stokes because of the Durham star’s ongoing trial for affray.

Warwickshire favourite Woakes, who missed England’s 31-run win in the first Test at his Edgbaston home ground last week because of concerns he was not fully fit following knee and calf injuries, took two for 19 — including the prize wicket of India captain Virat Kohli — as the tourists were dismissed for just 107 in their first innings at Lord’s on Friday.

The 29-year-old Woakes came into bat after England had slumped to 131 for five in reply on Saturday’s third day, with a top-order collapse threatening to undo their bowlers’ good work.

But Woakes, who had scored nine previous first-class hundreds, and Jonny Bairstow (93) turned the tide during a stand of 189.

This was an England sixth-wicket record in Test matches against India, surpassing the 171 shared by Ian Botham and Bob Taylor at Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1980.

Woakes, in his 25th match at this level, went past 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 meant Woakes had his name on the three Lord’s honours boards that record centuries, five-wicket 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. (AFP)

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