back icon


More excitement than nerves: Woakes on prospect of chasing

Last updated on 09 Jul 2023 | 04:46 AM
Google News IconFollow Us
More excitement than nerves: Woakes on prospect of chasing

Chris Woakes also warned the team against depending too much on their skipper Ben Stokes

England made three changes to their playing XI, including the return of Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Moeen Ali. All three changes have been vindicated in scintillating fashion, with the trio playing a crucial role in getting the Three Lions in the driver’s seat here in Leeds. 

With rain ruining the first two sessions of the day, overcast conditions in the third session meant batters were going to face a torrid time. Who better than Woakes to make use of the conditions, with the all-rounder picking up the crucial wickets of both Alex Carey and Mitchell Marsh, with the all-rounder setting up the game perfectly for the English batters. Woakes ended the second innings with three wickets, including the prized scalp of Usman Khawaja. 

"When it's a long day of rain, you always feel if you do get that window, it's not easy for the batting side," Woakes said in the post-match press conference. "Little windows in Test matches can make a huge difference and we felt that was an opportunity for us to take. We did well to bowl them out. If we were given this opportunity at the end of the first innings, I think we would've taken it."

However, the all-rounder was cautious, stating that the team shouldn’t be overreliant on their skipper, Ben Stokes, whose 80 possibly is the difference between England chasing down 251 and 350.

"It would be nice to do it a little bit easier. We don't want to be reliant on Ben all the time," he said.

Woakes also showed his excitement at the prospect that England could crawl back into the series, reducing the deficit to just one Test. 

"Although we do realise he's superhuman, he can't do it every time. Across the board, from 1 to 11, we've got to put a good shift in and try and get us over the line. It's an opportunity to do something special. There is more excitement than nerves. We are excited at the thought of chasing down a score, winning the Test and keeping ourselves in the series."

"We know we can chase scores as a team. It suits us. This team is always looking to be the aggressor and put a foot forward.

At the same time, however, Woakes insisted that the team has to play well on day four, especially considering how the conditions haven’t been the easiest of ones for the batters. 

"But the scores haven't been overly high in this game so you don't just walk into it thinking it's going to be a doddle. We're going to have to play well. Australia will be thinking they are 10 wickets away from winning an Ashes series in England as well, so it's an exciting day for both teams."

If Stokes went all guns blazing in the first innings, it was the Travis Head cameo that gives Australia a sniffing chance at winning the Ashes. Head also added that England’s Bazball style of Test cricket could give Australia an opportunity to create chances. 

"It's nice that it is here again. Hopefully we can redeem ourselves from '19 at this place," Head said. "It's a huge day in the series. It would be silly from both camps not to say there are nerves. Knowing what we can achieve, knowing that they can fight back to 2-1, there is a lot on the table.

"They are going to play aggressively, they will come hard and hopefully that creates opportunity."

Related Article