CHRIS WOAKES insisted England’s bowling attack can cope with the workload as it dealt with another injury blow – hopefully temporary – on the Ashes tour of Australia.
Jake Ball sprained his right ankle as he fell over in his delivery stride against a Cricket Australia XI at the Adelaide Oval.
First-change Ball was bowling round the wicket as he lost his footing, and was unable to resume, in his fourth over–- walking gingerly off the pitch for further treatment from physio Craig de Weymarn.
He did not return on day two of four, which ended with the tourists 5-0 in their second innings after CA declared 60 adrift on 233-9 thanks to a substantial recovery from 57-5 engineered by Tim Paine (52), Matt Short and then Simon Milenko (50).
In a tour party already deprived of vice-captain and all-rounder Ben Stokes, Steven Finn was dispatched back home because of torn cartilage in his knee earlier this week, while spin all-rounder Moeen Ali is recovering from a side strain.
Ball later told team-mates that his ankle was feeling “sore” leading to concerns over his future participation in the tour.
Woakes admitted Finn’s absence for the entire campaign was a “big loss”, but insisted England will be able to cope with the attack – led by James Anderson and Stuart Broad – which is left behind.
“I don’t think it’s a concern,” he said. “We’ve got a good unit in the dressing-room who are willing to put in the hard yards.
“I think we can all cause some problems out here with what we’ve got.”
Ball had been quickly into his stride on tour so far, in the first warm-up match in Perth and here.
I don’t think it’s a concern. We’ve got a good unit in the dressing-room who are willing to put in the hard yards. I think we can all cause some problems out here with what we’ve got.England all-rounder Chris Woakes
Woakes added: “He’s been bowling nicely on this trip so far, so when you see a fellow fast bowler go off the field – particularly the way he did it, falling under himself – it’s quite frustrating for him and the team.
“It’s never nice to see one of the fast guys go off injured ... particularly mid-game, and losing Finny to go home is really sad for him, with such a big series coming up. That’s unfortunate, and he’s obviously a big loss, an international bowler with a lot of experience for us.
“But we have to deal with it ... and you obviously have to step up as a bowler.”
Woakes, whose home summer was interrupted by a niggling side injury, shaped well for his two wickets.
“It’s the first experience for me with the pink ball in a game situation,” he said.
“It’s exciting cricket, a bit different. (Day-nighters) always seem to bring up good games of cricket, so I’m all for it.”
He believes the current warm-up fixture, at the venue where England will again play under lights in the second Test next month, is sure to prove beneficial.
“It’s important we get as much experience of this as possible, as much knowledge as possible, and a work-out like that today for us as bowlers has been really good.”
England’s currently depleted resources, meanwhile, were illustrated when 41-year-old fielding coach Paul Collingwood was pressed into substitute duties for an over.
“I wasn’t surprised (he came on),” said Woakes. “Someone on the commentary said it was Mase’s (leg-spinner Mason Crane’s) dad on the field.
“(But) the fact he’s still fit as a fiddle, still playing back home, I’m sure he could take any of us on in a fitness challenge as well.”