The Ashes: Can Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes help England bounce back?
Tourists seek to level series against Australia with victory in day-night Test in Adelaide
Birmingham-born Chris Woakes will be aiming to help England bounce back from the disappointment of their Ashes opener in Brisbane – if he can keep his place in the side.
The Bears all-rounder has been a key member of England’s Test, ODI and T20 squads, but faces a battle to retain his place in the XI as Joe Root’s side look to recover from their nine-wicket defeat at the Gabba.
England will almost certainly recall their Test leading wicket-taker James Anderson to the team for a match which is likely to aid his swing bowling using the pink ball under the lights. Three years ago, Anderson took 5-48 in the Adelaide day-nighter.
Skipper Root has revealed everyone in the tourists’ squad is fit and available and he and the selectors have “big decisions to make”, leaving 32-year-old Woakes and several others sweating on their place in the team.
What are the possibilities for England and Woakes?
With England also likely to select Stuart Broad – probably to share the new ball alongside Anderson – Woakes faces a struggle to retain his spot and almost certainly will miss out if England opt to retain a specialist spinner in the shape of Jack Leach who went for 1-102 off 13 overs in the first Test or Dom Bess.
The above scenarios would make the Adelaide outlook appear bleak for Woakes, in particular as fellow pace bowlers Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson impressed at the Gabba.
However, if England decide to leave Root as their only spin option by omitting both Leach and Bess, then even the selection of Anderson and Broad could still leave a spot for Woakes.
This is because star all-rounder and current Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World Ben Stokes may miss out due to a jarred knee sustained whilst fielding in Brisbane.
With Stokes having only just returned from a cricketing hiatus to “prioritise his mental well-being”, he surely would need to be 100 per cent fit for England to want to take any risks with him and Root admits it will be a last-minute call on his fitness.
If Stokes does miss out, England would surely require Woakes’ batting abilities in the side as otherwise an already long tail would grow even greater.
So, what is an England line-up containing Woakes most likely to look like?
Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Joe Root (captain), Dawid Malan, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, James Anderson.
Woakes took 2-76 off 25 overs in Australia’s first innings in Brisbane and scored 21 and 16 with the bat. You can watch the second Test live on BT Sport. Play starts at 4am Thursday British time.
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