Woakes shines but England still have a mountain to climb
Updated: Apr 10, 2020
Yet another great performance from Chris Woakes has earnt him his first test match 10 wicket haul. The man from Birmingham will now have his name on the Lords honours board for the second time in the test match with 6-70 and another 5 wickets today.
However the 22 year old started the day on the receiving end of the bowling, as he and Stewart Broad came out to start the third day of the Lords Test match, needing over 100 runs to match Pakistan’s first innings score. Despite being dismissed within the first hour of the day, Woakes still looked in good touch and his negotiation of pace and the spin of Shah that the likes of Root, Ballance, Vince, and Bairstow could not.
It seems that he is making a claim for the all-rounder spot. Despite Ben Stokes’ aggression with bat and bowl, Woakes has consistently been able to get key wickets when his colleague from Durham has been out through injury.
However there is one player that I would like to highlight. Over the years, there have been many great bowling spells in the fading light of the evening session. Today was one of those days. In previous matches we have seen Broad, Stokes, Swann and Flintoff come close to or win matches in the last hour of play; it was Steven Finn’s turn today.
Bowling from the nursery end, the 6 foot 6 giant took the attack to a middle order that featured either Sarfraz Ahmed or Asad Shafiq, who both came close to half tons. As the crowd sensed a destructive spell from the Middlesex man, he stormed in and turned batsmen round, found edges and beat the bat.
With the atmosphere of a white ball game, Finn played the hero, running in hard with a monotonous consistency that exposed Pakistan lack of experience against pace. But ever pantomime needs a villain and in this case the batsmen were just that. Scrappy, nervous and, at times, reckless but in.
Finn left his heart and soul on the hallowed turf but to no avail. Despite his brilliant use of the slope and beautiful line England failed to capitalise on a couple of edges in a typical performance from the home team at Lords. In the last 5 years, England have won five out of ten matches played at the home of cricket. Bairstow missed a near regulation catch and the slip cordon proved ineffective in catching or stopping the ball.
To add insult to injury Woakes came on and near wrapped up the Pakistani’s second innings. Obviously Finn’s place is not in danger, so long as Anderson stays injured. But he has never been a regular, and he can count himself unlucky that he didn’t leave the field with better figures.