More Lord's honors for Woakes as England dominates India
LONDON (AP) — Allrounder Chris Woakes displayed his batting ability with a first test century as he guided England to a commanding lead over India on Day 3 of the second test at Lord's.
Woakes struck an unbeaten 120 to take England to 357-6 and a 250-run lead over top-ranked India at stumps on Saturday.
Having come together shortly after lunch with England struggling at 131-5, Woakes and Jonny Bairstow (93) shared a match-changing stand of 189 through to 320-6.
"It's still a bit of a blur — incredible feeling," said Woakes, who hit 18 boundaries and took 2-19 in India's first innings of 107. "That feeling of raising your bat to a standing ovation at Lord's is a bit of a boyhood dream."
The 29-year-old Woakes is playing in place of Ben Stokes, who was forced to miss the second test as he stands trial in a court in Bristol charged with affray.
England's highest sixth-wicket partnership against India has given the hosts a good chance of taking a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. The forecast of further rain over the final two days appears to offer India's best chance of avoiding defeat.
England had looked like wasting an inspired bowling performance that dismissed India so cheaply on a rain-interrupted second day. That followed a first-day washout in London on Thursday.
Mohammed Shami (3-74) removed Keaton Jennings (11) and then England captain Joe Root (19) with the last ball before lunch — both of them leg-before dismissals — to leave England 89-4 at the end of the opening session.
Inbetween Shami's strikes, Ishant Sharma had Alastair Cook (21) caught behind and Hardik Pandya (2-66) removed England debutant Ollie Pope for 28 to help bring India back into the match.
When Jos Buttler went for 24 — Shami's third leg-before wicket — England looked capable of crumbling again.
However, having become the first batsmen to pass 30 in the match, Woakes and Bairstow took England to 230-5 tea, before going on the attack in the evening session.
India's decision to replace pacer Umesh Yadav with slow left-arm bowler Kuldeep Yadav came into question as the tourists struggled to maintain control on a wicket that appeared better suited to seamers than spinners.
"As a bowling unit we tried but all of a sudden the ball stopped swinging," Pandya said. "And Woakes and Bairstow took the game away."
Woakes surged past Bairstow and was suddenly in sight of securing a place on the batting honors board at Lord's — to go along with his place on the bowling honors board after taking two five-wicket hauls at Lord's against Pakistan two years ago.
"I was probably getting a little bit nervous," Woakes said. "I went from 60 to 80 pretty quickly and all of a sudden you start thinking of three figures and you start wafting at things outside off-stump, which I hadn't been doing."
A quick word from Bairstow helped Woakes to compose himself and a pull shot over mid-wicket for three took him to the landmark off just 129 balls.
Bairstow fell agonizingly short of his second test century at Lord's, edging Pandya through to wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik for the only wicket of the final session.
Sam Curran struck 22 not out from 24 balls as England chose to continue batting despite Sunday's forecast predicting rain.
England won a tense series opener by 31 runs at Edgbaston.