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Woakes joy as England go into home showpiece on a major high

 

Chris Woakes
Chris Woakes

By Rory Dollard

England's smooth World Cup preparations continued as Chris Woakes' five-wicket haul helped condemn Pakistan to a 54-run defeat at Headingley.

In their final one-day international before the tournament opener against South Africa on May 30, Eoin Morgan's side outclassed their opponents in all three disciplines to take the series 4-0.

There was a new ground record of 351 for nine, remarkable run-outs from Adil Rashid and Jos Buttler and a starring role for Woakes, whose five for 54 represented his best figures since 2014.

Joe Root (83) and Morgan (76) both topped up their accounts in timely fashion and, despite equally impressive knocks from Babar Azam and Sarfaraz Ahmed (97), the game was probably beyond stunned Pakistan as soon as Woakes reduced them to six for three.

David Willey would have dearly loved to make a splash, after being handed one last chance to nudge in front of Joe Denly when the 15-man squad for the tournament is named tomorrow afternoon, but one for 55 may not be enough to see him earn a spot on the panel.

The reply ended on 297, England finishing things 19 balls ahead of time.

Woakes said: "It has been a really good series for us with both bat and ball.

"Obviously winning the series 4-0 against a very strong Pakistan team is good for us going into a crucial World Cup.

"It has been a great few weeks for us but we know there's some really important cricket coming up.

"It's just been a great series for us and a great few weeks for us against this strong Pakistan team.

"The confidence is high and keeps everyone on their toes. We are always trying to improve and it is a great place to be.

"We are wishing each other the best and enjoying our success.

"Thankfully it was my turn to take the wickets today but we like to share it around."

Captain Morgan said: "I am very proud of the guys and the way they have performed throughout the series.

"The nature of how we have chopped changed our team - the performance of the side has remained consistent.

"That shows a lot of hunger in the squad and no-one can be faulted.

"Everyone has performed and today was same."

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