Woakes saves England’s blushes with inspired spell

Paceman Chris Woakes claimed four wickets as England roared back to the verge of victory against the Cricket Australia XI after the third day of the four day-night tour match at Adelaide Oval on Friday. The tourists scrambled to 207 in their second innings on the back of Jonny Bairstow’s unbeaten 61 off 66 balls leaving the CA XI 268 runs to win.

But Warwickshire’s Woakes led a spirited England fightback, capturing four for 17 off 10 overs to leave the CA XI innings in tatters. The tourists tried to wrap up victory opting for an extra half hour of play on the third night under lights but were thwarted by Matt Short (28 not out) and Gurinder Sandhu (17 not out) through to stumps at 70 for seven.

Up until Woakes’s superb bowling spell it looked an embarrassing day for Joe Root’s tourists, stumbling to 124 for seven at one stage. England tumbled from 79 without loss to lose seven wickets for 45 in a spectacular crash before Bairstow and leg-spinner Mason Crane (18) helped boost the innings in a 70-run stand.

When James Anderson became Simon Milenko’s fifth wicket England’s second innings was over, with injured Jake Ball unable to come to the wicket on his injured ankle. Former England captain and opener Alastair Cook’s scratchy start to his Ashes tour continued, making 32 from 85 balls. Cook began his tour with a second-ball duck against a West Australian XI and made only 15 in the first innings in Adelaide.

The veteran’s dismissal triggered England’s slide he was soon followed to the change room by his opening partner Mark Stoneman, who made 51, his third consecutive half-century on tour. Captain Joe Root (one), Dawid Malan (five), James Vince (29), Woakes (two) and Craig Overton (0) fell in rapid succession as England plummeted to 124 for seven. Bairstow hit a six to reach his half-century coming off 61 balls.

Meanwhile, Ball will miss the rest of CA XI match as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury. The Nottinghamshire paceman fell awkwardly while bowling his fourth over on Thursday. Ball was forced to withdraw from the day-night warm-up match and had a scan on Friday to determine the damage to his right ankle.

The tourists have already lost pace man Steven Finn, who has flown home because of a knee injury and his replacement Tom Curran arrived in Adelaide on Friday. And spinning all rounder Moeen Ali is yet to feature in the warm-up matches as he struggles with a side strain.

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