Chris Woakes handed golden chance to finally prove he is England class

Woakes’s Test record borders on mediocre but those who bat against him in the England nets say he is the fastest and most challenging bowler they face

Allowed a clear run with the weather (and given that the first Test only lasted around 163 overs, or five and a half sessions of actual playing time, not even inclemency looks as if it is a barrier to their success) England should have the series done and dusted by the end of the forthcoming match. That is not hostage to fortune or hubris. Sri Lanka are never short of fight, but they arrived here shorn of almost 25,000 Test match runs after the retirement of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, and, through injury, are now without a large part of the cutting edge of their attack with the loss of Dhammika Prasad and now Dushmantha Chameera, their fastest bowler. They have been asked to play in the sort of ground conditions that were beyond the coping capabilities of the Australian team last summer, and, given the time of year, in inhospitable weather that brings to mind the way that the All Blacks would send hapless opponents to the House of Pain in Carisbrook to cope with a winter Antarctic southerly. With the notable exceptions of two batsmen in Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales, and a brilliant pair of bowlers in Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, England were far from their best at Headingley and yet still won by an innings and a gallon.

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