Ashes 2023: Mark Wood and Chris Woakes helped England to victory at Headingley- they have arrived just in time
Chris Woakes and Mark Wood both played their first match of the series at Headingley- we should all hope we'll see them again in Manchester
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The end of play at Headingley saw jubilant scenes from England fans both at the ground and on social media. Heaps of praise has been put on Harry Brook for his 75 which propelled England to within 25 of victory- a win which has kept England in the Ashes.
Two players in need of lots of positive words- not just for their match winning batting display at the end- are Chris Woakes and Mark Wood. The pair took 13 of Australia’s 20 wickets and scored 82 runs between them- proving to be a significant factor in England getting over the finish line in Leeds.
The pair were recalled to the Test side as part of three changes from England’s flat performance in defeat at Lord’s. Both have good records in international cricket, and our lower middle order looked significantly stronger with them on the team sheet.
With England looking fragile on day 2, Wood came out to bat with aims of getting his side on the move. He hit two sixes and a four from his first three balls and finished on 24- adding a third six before holing out. These runs were vital in helping England edge closer to the first innings Australian target- which Ben Stokes took his side even closer to.
Woakes wasn’t around for too long in the first innings, but in the second he showed why he can be relied on as a handy lower order batter. He put on a crucial partnership of 59 with Brook and finished not out on 32, hitting the winning runs with a four that was cracked away to the boundary.
When Brook did fall, Woakes was joined by Wood who would try to repeat his first innings antics. A huge top edge six and a well timed four saw him finish on 16 from just 8 deliveries. He scored most of the runs in a 24 run partnership with Woakes, one which won England a match which keeps the series alive.
Both Wood and Woakes are still in the side more for their bowling than their batting, although this may change soon enough if these batting displays keep up, but with ball in hand they caused havoc.
In the first innings, the pair took 8 of the 10 Australian wickets. Wood finished on remarkable figures of 5-34 including all of the last 4 wickets to fall. They didn’t do too badly in the second innings as England restricted Australia to just 224 all out.
Half of the Australian wickets were snaffled by Wood or Woakes, including that of Usman Khawaja, Alex Carey and first innings centurion Mitch Marsh. Both players bring so much variation to England’s bowling attack and the proof is in the pudding- the pudding here being 13 wickets.
There is a week and a half until the two sides do battle in the fourth test at Old Trafford, which means plenty of time for the England selectors to work out how they go and beat Australia again. If the side for Manchester includes both Wood and Woakes, and if they can repeat their heroics from Headingley, we’ll be onto something good.