Woakes makes Ashes statement with lethal bowling spell

England allrounder Chris Woakes has warmed up for next week's Ashes opener with a six-wicket haul against a Cricket Australia XI in Townsville.

 

In England's last tour match before next week's first Test, Woakes ripped through the inexperienced hosts' top order to leave them reeling at 9-249 at stumps on Wednesday.

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Medium-pacer Craig Overton was also in the wickets. He is pushing for a Test debut if Jake Ball doesn't return from an ankle injury.

Woakes ripped through the CA XI on Wednesday. Pic: Getty

Offspinner Moeen Ali appeared to come through unscathed in his return from a side strain, but the day's main concern was with wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

Bairstow was taken from the field in the first over after lunch after copping a delivery on the bounce from Woakes.

He received attention from England's medical staff, but returned an hour later with team officials, insisting the problem was only a bruised middle finger on his left hand - and not a dislocation.

The news will come as a welcome relief for England, who have already lost quick Steve Finn to a knee injury for the tour, while Ben Stokes' future is uncertain after the alleged street brawl in September in Bristol.

But Woakes has indicated he is ready to fill Stokes' large shoes in his absence.

He first claimed the scalps of CA XI openers Jake Carder (39) and Nick Larkin (30) in the first two overs of his second spell, after the pair had put on a 66-run opening stand.

Ryan Gibson (7) and Jason Sangha (0) also fell in quick succession to the English quick after the lunch break.

Overton then claimed the wicket of Will Pucovski (20), caught behind by Bairstow on his return to the field, from a ball that moved away from the young Victorian.

Woakes then picked up his fifth wicket when he had Harry Nielsen caught out for 20 after the tea break.


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