Chris Woakes piles pressure on Australia as England threaten stunning Ashes comeback in 2023

Chris Woakes believes England has the momentum to take the Ashes 3-2 with the Australian going down late on.

Despite leading the series 2-0 after two narrow wins, Woakes reckons the hardest part still lies ahead of the Australians, who could almost touch the Ashes in Leeds. And just like Devon Loch in the 1956 Grand National, England is now close at hand should it suffer another mishap.

Woakes did more than most to help salvage the series with six wickets in the match and a crucial 32 not out on the fourth day, taking the winning runs to boot. But the 34-year-old knows England will need to find more of the same quality to come out on top in Manchester next week to deny the tight World Champions.

“He’s always been there in that locker room, the belief is that we can win 3-2,” Woakes said. “I imagine when you’re that close to achieving something, the more difficult it becomes, and I’m sure the Australians will feel it now.

“Once you get that close to something, it’s hard to get over it, isn’t it? We have to turn up in Manchester and do another gig. They’re a damn good side, they’re an extremely good side.

“We’re going to have to do our best to beat them again, but the belief is there.” And Woakes is hoping he can be as involved at Old Trafford as he was at Headingley, where he got a full house to see his magic in action rather than an empty stadium.

It was at Old Trafford that Woakes enjoyed one of his best days in an England test shirt in 2020 as he scored 84 to not see his side in another thrilling three-wicket victory over Pakistan. Only that it was during the Covid pandemic, so no one was there to see him beyond his teammates, opponents, ground crew, and a handful of media.

And after being turned down in a match against Ireland earlier this summer in place of Josh Tongue, Woakes thought he would never get the chance to enjoy a feeling like that again. But he’s nothing if not an enduring competitor, and when the call finally came, he was ready for action and surely deserves a shot at a repeat dose next week.

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