Chris Woakes’ Hobart horror-show proves England must only use him in home Tests

Chris Woakes is often called an English specialist. At last, Down Under, here was a situation to remind Woakes of home.

The mild temperatures and green tinge at the Bellerive Oval, Australia’s southernmost ground, resembled that found 10,000 miles north in England. And, just as so often at home, Woakes arrived in the attack with England’s new-ball pair having claimed early scalps.

England’s finest passage of play in the series – admittedly, an accolade up there with being Henry VIII’s favourite wife – had seen Ollie Robinson and Stuart Broad reduce Australia to 12 for three. By the time Woakes was entrusted with the ball, in the 16th over, that had inched up to 41 for three. Yet it still allowed Woakes the chance to convert England’s early advantage from promising to match-defining.

Broad and Robinson had displayed simple mastery of line and length, allowing seam movement from the new ball to do the rest. It is a task for which Woakes ought to be supremely well suited. And yet his very first ball served up a wide half-volley outside off stump, which Travis Head scythed through the off side. Three more half-volleys in his opening spell were treated with the same disdain. England never truly regained the ascendancy.

It is possible to feel some sympathy for Woakes. Just as at Adelaide, he was deprived of the new ball in conditions that he would have expected to exploit. Even by the time he came on, the ball was going a little soft, and swinging and seaming much less.

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