Published On: Wed, Nov 15th, 2017

Ashes 2017/18: Chris Woakes sends Australia a warning with six wicket haul | Cricket | Sport

Woakes was England’s top man with the ball as Cricket Australia XI were restricted to 249 for nine, despite a hard-working half-century from home captain Matt Short.

The Warwickshire player followed up his four for 12 in the second innings of England’s Adelaide victory over the same opponents with a rush of four for eight in 22 balls here.

Eventual figures of six for 54 were deserved for England’s best bowler of the day.

All ended well then at Townsville’s Tony Ireland Stadium, but only after the tourists had endured an anxious hour while Jonny Bairstow was off the pitch receiving a reassuring diagnosis of nothing worse than a bruised middle finger on his left hand after an awkward take off Woakes.

England have already seen Steven Finn fly home with torn knee cartilage and have another seamer, Jake Ball, recovering on the sidelines after straining ankle ligaments last week.

A significant Bairstow injury would have been among the worst of all setbacks to their plans for next week’s first Test, but England did not have to worry for long.

Their wicketkeeper was able to return none the worse, after his deputy Ben Foakes had filled the gap and duly taken a catch too to account for Woakes’ third wicket.

On a slow pitch, after CA won the toss, Woakes broke an opening stand of 66 with the first ball of his second spell – after he and Stuart Broad had drawn a new-ball blank.

Nick Larkin aimed an expansive drive on the up and fell to the first and best of three sharp gully catches by James Vince.

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Jake Carder continued to drive well down the ground only to follow another straight boundary with an edge behind, pushing forward, to the final delivery of Woakes’ second comeback over.

Bairstow’s misfortune struck straight after lunch, so it was Foakes who completed the dismissal of Ryan Gibson before Woakes then pitched one further up and had Jason Sangha lbw second ball.

Craig Overton, also building on his success in Adelaide, interrupted the Woakes show with a wicket before tea – courtesy of the returning Bairstow’s straightforward catch after Will Pucovski played without feet and edged another behind.

Short (51) had some luck, each time off Mason Crane, surviving a half-chance to point on 25 and then a more obvious one on 36 when Joe Root was sloppy at slip.

Vince’s second catch did for Harry Nielsen, and provided Woakes’ fifth, before Short completed a 118-ball 50 which contained just two fours.

Root then soon took his second opportunity to see off his opposite number with a neat catch this time, at second slip off Overton.

Woakes would have had his sixth had Bairstow held Simon Milenko’s low edge on nought, but he was back with the second new ball to take others out of the equation when he yorked the same batsman for a wicket with the first delivery of a new spell again.

Vince’s third catch then gave Broad a late wicket for good measure, Gurinder Sandhu edging his drive as England were set to finish with a flourish until number 10 Daniel Fallins took Crane for 16 in the last over before stumps.

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James Anderson has been laid low with a stomach bug but demonstrated he is on the mend by bowling in the nets during lunch.

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