Woakes eyes Test call
Chris Woakes hopes to force his way into England’s team in time for next summer’s Ashes Test at Old Trafford after starring with the bat for the Lions on day two of the four-day game against Australia A at the same ground.
Woakes, who compiled his fifth and sixth first-class centuries last month, struck an excellent 92 from number seven today to help Eoin Morgan’s men recover from 142 for five to post 315 all out.
The Warwickshire all-rounder’s batting average this year stands at 88.6 and, having been capped by England in four ODIs and three Twenty20s, he is determined to continue his improvement as he targets further international honours.
“I'm obviously aspiring to play Test cricket for England, so fingers crossed it's not the last time I play at Old Trafford. Hopefully next time it's in a Test match,” said the 23-year-old at the close, after Australia A had responded with 127 for one.
“When I first went in, it was quite tricky and offering a bit for everyone. There was turn and bounce for the spinners, but it seems to have died a bit as the day's gone on.
“My batting's something that I work hard on. It's got better the more I've played, the more I've matured as a cricketer.
“My bowling's been more natural to me since I started the game but the more I've worked at my batting over the last few years I feel like I've improved.”
Woakes performed against an attack including current Test off-spinner Nathan Lyon and left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson, who is returning from a lengthy injury lay-off.
Johnson led the way for the tourists with figures of 4-47 from 26.1 overs before his skipper Ed Cowan underpinned a strong reply with 77 not out.
“It's nice to score runs against international quality bowlers,” said Woakes.
“Johnson's been there and done it at the highest level even though he's not in their team at the minute. It definitely gives you confidence that you have scored runs against those guys.
“It felt like he hit his straps well. On the first morning he did that too. He didn't give any freebies. He found a good line, took the ball away from the right-handers and was hard to score off.”