Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes has hailed a "fantastic" effort from his England team-mates to win the opening Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
Led by captain Joe Root’s eight-hour 228, and 14 wickets from spinners Dom Bess and Jack Leach, England won by seven wickets to lead the two-match series.
“It was a fantastic performance from the guys with the preparation they had,” he said. “To have just a small inter-squad game and then a few days prep for a Test match in these conditions is quite tricky, but the lads played some really good stuff. To adapt the way they did was brilliant.
“Joe’s innings in those circumstances was pretty special and then the spinners did a great job. To win a Test on the subcontinent is always difficult so it was a really good win.”Chris Woakes
Warwickshire opener Dom Sibley was at the top of the England order but Bears seamers Woakes and Olly Stone took a watching brief. The bowling attack was predictably spin-oriented in subcontinental conditions, though Woakes was unavailable anyway, having spent an extended period in isolation following arrival in Sri Lanka.
He had to self-isolate for a week after Moeen Ali, with whom he shared a car down to the airport before flying from England, tested positive for COVID-19.
“Mo tested positive when we arrived in Sri Lanka so it was just a precaution for me to self-isolate,” said Woakes. “I had about five tests that week, which wasn’t too pleasant, having them every other day, but thankfully they all came back negative.
“It was always going to be two days quarantine on arrival, so I was expecting that, so it was a bit of a blow to get another five days on top of that, but it’s nothing compared to what a lot of people are putting up with around the world at the minute. I’m just very lucky to be out here playing cricket.
“I had a balcony in the hotel room so at least could get out there and get some fresh air. I watched a few Villa highlights from the current season to keep me going…it’s going pretty well for the boys!”
Woakes is now back in the selection mix and hoping for some involvement in the second Test, starting at Galle on Thursday, and the Test series in India to follow.
“It was a bit frustrating to be ruled out of selection but it’s been great to be back training with the lads. You never know, I might get a game this week and there are a fair few Test matches round the corner, so hopefully we can get another Bear or two in the side this week or soon after.Chris Woakes
“Stoney is bowling really nicely at the moment, which is great to see, so hopefully he will get another go on an England shirt really soon.”
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