The world champions will end their international summer with a winner-takes-all decider against Australia but had looked down and out at Emirates Old Trafford as a century stand between Aaron Finch and Marnus Labuschagne took the tourists to 144-2 chasing 232.
But the tourists fell in a heap as eight wickets tumbled for just 63 runs, with the hosts’ strike bowlers to the fore.
With Australia running away with the match – and towards an unassailable 2-0 lead – captain Eoin Morgan drafted his most reliably dangerous pace pair back into the attack much earlier than planned and saw them flip a dire situation on its head.
In the space of 21 balls they removed four batsmen at a cost of just three runs, sowing the seeds of a collapse that left their opponents 207 all out.
Woakes took three of those in an inspired spell of seam bowling, while the hostile Archer followed two quick new-ball breakthroughs with a third of his own. Between them, they turned in figures of six for 66 from 20 overs.
“Jofra is obviously an ace and so is Woakesy. It’s our strongest suit,” said Morgan after the 24-run win.
“You like to bowl them in the most important parts of the game and I felt at the time I brought them back that was the most important part because the game was edging away from us. It was getting to a stage where we needed to make a move.
“Finch and Marnus made it look easier than it was so I threw everything at it and the guys bowled unbelievably well. For Jos and Woaksey to come back like that was outstanding. When they bowl like that they make the captain look good.
“Australia didn’t make too many mistakes. It was lbws and bowled – it either nipped or swung back. That’s a bowler getting a batsmen out. When you make inroads like that it sends a big message for the guys coming in about how difficult it is.”
Australia’s Pat Cummins admitted much of the damage came in England’s late rally with the bat.
“It’s a tough one to get your head around. I thought we bowled really well and then let them off the hook,” he said.
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Thank you, James Mitchinson. Editor.