‘It feels long, but it was well worth the wait’: Chris Woakes enjoys lead role for England after fourth Test recall against India
- Chris Woakes took four wickets for 55 on an impressive return to the Test side
- “It feels like a long time coming, but it was worth the wait,” he said
- England was in command, but then lost early wickets and Joe Root
- Woakes still feels like hosts can punch themselves in a commanding lead
Chris Woakes lamented Joe Root’s late dismissal as India’s bowlers struck back on a pulse-pounding first day of the crucial Fourth Test.
After Woakes’ four for 55 helped sack the tourists for 191, England closed at 53 for three – with Root thrown for 21 in the penultimate of the day by a beauty Indian fast bowler Umesh Yadav.
That left the Test in the balance and Woakes said: ‘We were very happy to bowl them out cheaply, but we would rather not have lost three wickets, including Joe, given the form he was in.
Chris Woakes took four wickets in successful return to England Test side
“But I still feel like we can hit well, get a good lead and put the pressure back on them. It’s going to be a big second day. I’d like to think we’re on top, but the morning session will be crucial.’
Woakes played his first test for over a year after several accidents – including Covid isolation and a bruised heel caused by slipping down the stairs – Woakes admitted: “I was desperate to play cricket again, and it’s good to be back to be. It seems to take a long time, but it was well worth the wait.
“There will be some bowling pains in the morning, but it’s good to have those back. A lot of people around the world have had a worse 18 months than me, but if I didn’t take advantage last year, it feels like I may have missed out a bit. It’s nice to show what I can do and show my skills.’
The bowler was impressive and is optimistic England can now build a lead in the game
England would have been better placed, but for a raw 36-ball 57 from No 8 Shardul Thakur, who was only playing his fourth Test after sitting out the last two games with hamstring problems.
At 127 for seven, India might have bounced off for 150. But his half-century, the third fastest in Tests against England, lifted his side to respectability.
“When Rishabh Pant got out, it was important for me to play innings like that,” Thakur said. “There are two ways: you can either be patient and count on all the partners to come in, or if it’s in your slot, hit it. I connected well so I kept going for the pictures.
Wickets kept dropping at regular intervals, but we did well to get to 190. At this point, the game is equally balanced. We have a chance.’
England ejected India for 191 and were themselves three wickets at the end