Woakes underlines all-round potential
Warwickshire looked to be edging closer to Division One survival in the LV= County Championship as 22 wickets went down on a dramatic second day against fellow strugglers Kent at Edgbaston.
A troublesome match for batsmen continued to unravel in the Warwickshire’s favour when the visitors faltered again after being set an imposing 324 for victory.
They looked to be out of contention altogether after crumbling to 36 for four as Chris Woakes and Neil Carter quickly took their combined match haul to 13 wickets.
A partnership of 95 between Martin van Jaarsveld, who reached 44 not out after being dropped at cover on 17, and Geraint Jones gave Kent renewed hope.
However, Jones was lbw to Woakes for 41 in the final over and, after closing the day on 131 for five, Kent need a further 193 to upset the odds.
On a day dominated by the pace bowlers, Woakes completed a championship-best 6-52 as Kent’s first innings folded for 111.
But Warwickshire were then shot out for 140 after choosing not to enforce the follow-on, giving the visitors hope.
Although the pitch was used on Monday for a Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Scotland, it could not be blamed for the low scoring.
Batsmen on both sides may have wilted under the pressure of a relegation struggle but the bowlers, especially Woakes, consistently got the ball to swing.
He made his first breakthrough when Kent began the day on 37 for three.
With just enough movement to expose flaws in the batting, he removed top-scorer Sam Northeast for 32 and then van Jaarsveld with his next ball.
After Woakes had taken the first five wickets, Carter got in on the act with 3-46.
It was only a stand of 39 between last pair Alex Blake and Matt Coles, who hit 33 and 13 not out respectively, that lifted the total into three figures.
Woakes and Carter were soon needed as batsmen when Warwickshire’s top order failed for the second time, though.
None of the top six reached double figures as Kent’s bowlers emulated Woakes in exploiting helpful conditions.
Darren Stevens began the home side’s troubles with two wickets - of Varun Chopra and Darren Maddy - in three balls and Azhar Mahmood quickly followed with three in 18 deliveries.
Stevens claimed 4-38 – and seven wickets in the match - as Warwickshire nosedived to 54 for eight.
With Kent’s two new-ball bowlers beginning to tire, Woakes counter-attacked with 51 from 41 balls, his first half-century since scoring an unbeaten 136 against Hampshire in April.
The potential to become a genuine all-rounder was again evident as he played some impressive strokes for nine fours and a six, mostly in a ninth-wicket stand of 72 with Carter, who made 26.