England today bundled out India for a paltry 148 to take the upperhand on the very first day of the fifth and final cricket Test, and medium pacer Chris Woakes said the home team bowlers used the seaming conditions at Oval to perfection.
After dismissing India in only 61.1 overs, England finished day one on 62 for no loss, thereby cutting down the lead to only 86 runs. The hosts lead the five-match series 2-1.
"We bowled really well today and made use of the conditions. It was a good day and opting to bowl first, Stuart Broad and James Anderson set the tone for us. Bowling them out for just 150-odd was perfect for us and then finishing on 60-odd without any loss was a very good end to the day," said Woakes. Woakes returned with figures three for 30 today and along with Chris Jordan (3/32) did heavy damage to the Indian middle-order after Anderson and Broad had made early inroads.
"At times I did think if I am ever going to pick a wicket. It can be disheartening sometime but it is good to pick up wickets," said the bowler, who went wicket-less in Southampton despite bowling quite well. "In the last couple of matches the rewards haven't come my way. But we all put the ball in the right areas and a few wickets came my way as well."
Asked what England have done differently since the Lord's defeat to turn things around and put the Indian batting under constant pressure, he replied: "The way Anderson and Broad have bowled first up has set the one in every innings. It has helped because they have bowled fantastically well. We have just put the ball in right areas and the more you do that the more wickets come your way. So we have just done that. I think we have improved over the last few games. It cannot be said that India have batted badly but instead we have bowled well and build up constant pressure. When you do that, it is bound to show in the wickets and that has what has happened in the last few games," he added.
Woakes said that tips from Anderson has remarkably improved his swing bowling in the last three Tests.
"I speak a lot with him in the nets and have been working closely with him. I have tried to understand what his thought processes are and tried to learn from him. He is England's best-ever fast bowler so it is great to be playing with him and I try to pick his brains as much as possible," Woakes signed off.