Chris Woakes was batting on 120* at stumps on day 3 © Getty Images
Chris Woakes was batting on 120* at stumps on day 3 © Getty Images

Chris Woakes who is on a comeback trail after a long layoff due to injury, is obviously a content man after snaring the important wicket of India captain Virat Kohli and then going on to register a Lord’s hundred when England batted. Woakes came in to the second Test replacing Ben Stokes; it sure wasn’t an easy job to fill in those shoes but he has made the made the most of his opportunity through his superlative all-round performance.

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Woakes is absolutely delighted to have scored a century at the ‘Home of Cricket’. “That feeling of raising your bat to a standing ovation at Lord’s is a bit of a boyhood dream. But it’s an incredible feeling,” he told mediapersons after the end of third day’s play.

Woakes had recently become a father and said that the team-mates had asked him to do a ‘baby-celebration’ if he achieves the landmark hundred. “The lads did ask me actually where was the baby celebration, but for some reason, that wasn’t really on my mind. I didn’t really have any ideas of how I was going to celebrate, and didn’t really know how to but I’m obviously just delighted. It’s still a bit of a blur. It seems to go so fast 30 seconds of raising your bat feels literally like a blink of the eye,” Woakes said.

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He credited team-mate Jonny Bairstow for the calming influence the latter had on him when he was reaching the 100. “I was probably getting a little bit nervous in the 90s. All of a sudden, you start thinking of three-figures, start wafting at things outside off-stump, which I hadn’t been doing. Jonny (Bairstow) came down and had a word, which settled me,” he said.

READ: Lord’s Test, Day 3, Talking Points

Woakes delved more on his partnership with Bairstow. “When I went to the crease (on Saturday), I think we were about 20 ahead. Jonny had been playing nicely and I think the important thing was to try to get through certain spells. There were some really good ones Mohammed Shami kept running in and we just saw each spell as something to tick off, and make it difficult for the Indian bowlers to keep coming back.” he said that by the time the Indian spin duo were in operation, they (him and Bairstow) had done their job in helpful batting conditions.

“There wasn’t a huge amount of turn there, so when the spinners were on we felt we’d done our job. I didn’t really think of a score at any point. I was just thinking of a partnership, trying to get past the first 20 balls. I wasn’t looking too much at the scoreboard in terms of what lead we needed. But the ball got a little bit softer, and it made it a little bit easier,” he added.

More on the partnership

Woakes has now achieved the rare feat of a treble of registering his name on the Lord’s honours board. He has now got a fifer, a 10-for and a hundred at the hallowed ground. “It’s a sweet day. It has been a frustrating summer so far, missing quite a bit of cricket. I was over the moon to get the call to be back in the squad. I could never really have dreamt of scoring a hundred in my comeback Test. With five or six weeks out injured, you’re watching the boys all summer and you want to be out there,” he said.

Woakes also expressed satisfaction at dismissing the Indian captain Virat Kohli for a low score. ”We all know how good Virat is, a world-class player, number one in the Test rankings. He is obviously a king-pin in India’s (batting) line-up. Particularly yesterday, with the ball moving around, it felt like it was a really good opportunity to try to get him out early. Once he gets in, he’s very difficult to get out so I was delighted.”

Woakes felt ready for the Lord’s Test in terms of his mental space and said that there admittedly was pressure of replacing Ben Stokes but that he wasn’t trying to play like the flamboyant all-rounder but was focused on playing his natural game. ”I definitely felt my body was ready (here), and from a mental side of things I was ready to play. Coming in in place of Ben Stokes, it’s quite big shoes to fill. But you try not to think about that I don’t try to play like him. I play like myself, try to do my job for the team, and thankfully I’ve done that so far,” he said.

The all-rounder expressed confidence of closing the lid on India in the Lord’s Test considering there is rain in the air which will help the England seamers when India bat the second time around. “If there is a little bit of rain around tomorrow, that might play into our hands bit overcast, bit of moisture around, we hope it might move around like it did (on Friday). I’m sure it won’t quite do that but with a significant lead, whenever we do come to bowl, we hope we can put the Indian batsmen under pressure,” he signed off.

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