CHRIS WOAKES has waited all winter for a day to enjoy.
And 24 hours after Grenada heard Jack Leach’s redemption song with the bat, the Warwickshire all-rounder sang his with the ball.
England stars congratulate Chris Woakes after his dismissal of Jermaine BlackwoodCredit: AP
Not enough to earn England a lead in the final Test, wicket keeper Josh Da Silva steered the Windies into an advantage they will look to extend.
But his three-wicket blast, ripping out the West Indies middle order, at least ensured this should turn into a second innings shoot-out.
Da Silva’s unbeaten 54 guided the home side to 232-8 at the close, 28 runs ahead, as day two mirrored day one.
Just as England had recovered from 114-9 to post their total, the home side plummeted to 128-7 before fighting back.
Yet for Woakes, there was a positive at the end of two tours of woe, although only after he had helped squander the new ball.
In five previous Tests, first Down Under and then in the Caribbean, Woakes had taken just eight wickets for 504, again struggling to replicate his home form on foreign fields.
But Ben Stokes, his left knee heavily strapped, led the way by dislodging the Windies “wall”, skipper Kraigg Brathwaite, dead in front of middle stump to break an opening partnership of 50, aided by poor bowling with the fresh cherry.
Saqib Mahmood and Craig Overton followed him into the breach by dismissing Shamarh Brooks and John Campbell respectively before lunch.
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And that was the platform for Woakes, finally hitting the lengths to take advantage of the inconsistent bounce.
Nkrumah Bonner was his first victim, unable to get his top glove out of the way of a well-directed lifter.
Three balls later it was 82-5, Jason Holder misjudging his pull straight into Jonny Bairstow’s hands at square leg.
Woakes had as many wickets in four balls as in 66 overs across the first two Tests.
He was beaming again when he pinned Jermaine Blackwood for 18, just after he had been put down by Foakes off Mahmood.
Woakes, who ended the day with 3-48, said: “Naturally I’d have liked to have bowled better on this tour, there’s no doubt about that.
This one had a bit more in it and I felt like I hit my straps, bowled really nicely and got my reward
“It certainly hasn’t been about a lack of effort or trying to find ways to take wickets on difficult surfaces.
“This one had a bit more in it and I felt like I hit my straps, bowled really nicely and got my reward.”
He admitted: “In the first hour we could’ve bowled a little bit fuller. We were a little bit short and could have made them play a little bit more.
“Even when we got the ball in the right areas it didn’t seem to offer as much as we saw on Thursday until we started to do that more consistently.”
When Kyle Mayers, after some lusty blows before chipping Stokes softly to Mahmood at mid-on for 28, England had hopes of a lead.
But Da Silva and Alzarri Joseph added 49 before the bowler’s wild swish saw an edge through to Ben Foakes.
And then Kemar Roach joined Da Silva to frustrate England to the close.
Woakes, 33, celebrates during today’s actionCredit: Reuters