Woakes promotion pays off

England seal Twenty20 record as decision to push debutant up the order results in last ball win

ENGLAND debutant Chris Woakes admitted he was shocked to be thrust into the role of emergency matchwinner as his late flurry with the bat ensured England secured a world record eighth straight Twenty20 win off the last ball of the match.

Worcestershire bowler Woakes, 21, came to the crease with England looking down the barrel in their attempts to surpass Australia’s total of 157 for nine.

Last man Ajmal Shahzad took three balls to scramble a single but, with the game seemingly slipping away, Woakes tied the scores with a cut for two before lofting a drive from the final ball to win the match.

“At first I was No11 on the sheet and didn’t expect to come in,” revealed Woakes. “But I got my promotion. I don’t think the result was ever in doubt.

“I’m delighted to make my debut for England and it’s good to keep the momentum going that the boys have started over here.”

Australia reached a more than competitive total, largely on the back of Shane Watson’s 59 from 31 balls. Indeed, the hosts were 83 without loss at one stage before some tight bowling from Twenty20 specialist Mike Yardy reined Australia in.

England’s reposnse began brightly with Ian Bell scoring 27 from 17 balls and Kevin Pietersen thumping 25 from 11 before attempting to hit left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe out of the Adelaide Oval, but succeeding only in holing out to Dave Hussey.

Eoin Morgan steadied the ship with a fluent 43, but a flurry of late wickets left England needing four off the last five balls once Watson had rearranged Graeme Swann’s furniture.

After Shahzad belatedly managed to get himself off strike, Woakes finished the job with a calmness and authority which belied his lack of experience.

Skipper Paul Collingwood was delighted at breaking another record on Australian soil and was suitably impressed by the performance of England’s latest matchwinner.

He said: “Andy [Flower] said he was a serious batter. Swanny was a little disappointed he was ahead of him, but when Woakes hit that six off Tait, Swanny just doffed his cap to Andy and understood why the decision had been made. He’s a true all-rounder.

“It means a lot. It’s a world record. We always say we want to create history and in this form of the game eight wins is something very special. It only takes that one performance to take it away from you.

“We nearly had it taken away from us by Shane Watson. It’s a good effort, that. I can’t see too many teams coming close to that in the future.”