England all-rounder Chris Woakes stamped his authority on day three of the second Test against India at Lord’s as he brought up his maiden century in the longest format of the game on Saturday. Riding on Woakes’ 120 not out and Jonny Bairstow’s 93, the home side took a firm grip on the match. Woakes, who picked up 2/19 in the first innings, was involved in a 189-run sixth-wicket partnership with Bairstow that provided England with a lead of 250 runs. The 29-year-old was out for six weeks with a knee injury, which he picked up during the Pakistan series in June, and returned to the Test side only as a replacement for Ben Stokes. “It’s a sweet day, really. I was over the moon to get the call to be back in the squad and I could never have dreamed of getting a hundred in my comeback Test,” Woakes told PTI.
“To get to a hundred was an incredible feeling and I was getting a bit nervous through the 90s, to be honest. To receive a standing ovation at Lord’s is a bit of a boyhood dream.”
“It would’ve been nice to have had a little bit more red-ball cricket under my belt (before the Test) but I definitely felt I was ready from the mental side of things if called upon. Obviously coming in instead of Ben Stokes, it’s quite big boots to fill, but I try not to play like him, I try to play like myself and hopefully I’ve done a job so far.”
The all-rounder, who came in to bat when England were 131/5, averages 121 with the bat and 9.93 with the ball at the iconic cricket ground.
“Obviously, I’ve had a couple of good games here in the past. I don’t know whether it’s the surface or the conditions or I’ve just hit form at the right time. The slope gives you a little bit more to work with as a bowler and I feel like I’ve bowled well from the Nursery End here.”
When bad light forced an early close on the third day, England were 357/6 in reply to India’s meagre first-innings total of 107 with commanding a lead of 250 runs.
(With PTI Inputs)