The Ashes: Chris Woakes ready to battle Australia after six wicket haul on tour match Woakes spent much of last summer injured with a side strain but looked back to his best as he ran through a Cricket Australia XI in Townsville. He took 6-54 including a spell of of 4-8 either side of lunch to help reduce the Aussies to 118-5 but they stubbornly fought back to reach 249-9 at the close. On the down side England dropped three catches, the bowlers struggled for length and wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow needed an hour out to nurse a bruised finger. But while fellow pacemen Jake Ball (sprained ankle) and James Anderson (stomach bug) bowled in the nets Woakes once again laid waste to the side he also took six wickets against in a day-night match in Adelaide last week. Anderson and Stuart Broad have 894 Test wickets between them but the Aussies may find Woakes as big a handful having quickly found out how to use the unfamiliar Kookaburra ball. “I’m excited about our prospects” England coach Shane Bond And England’s Kiwi bowling coach Shane Bond, believes skipper Joe Root has an attack capable of beating the old enemy, despite all the talk about the Australian pacemen. Bond said: “Chris is going really well at the moment, he’s fully back to fitness and bowling well. “There is not going to be massive amounts of swing and the pitches won’t do the work for you so you have to find different ways to skin a cat and the fields might look different. “I can’t wait for the first Test match, and I’m excited about our prospects.”. England kick off the Ashes series in Brisbane a week today and Woakes said: “I’m pleased to pick up six wickets and a week away from the first Test it’s good to hit some form. “I suppose whenever you’re left out of a Test team, you’re always dying to get back in it and prove your worth. “I’m pleased with where my body is at, and getting overs in the legs is important. You don’t want to go in undercooked and I’m pleased with where I’m at.” Star all-rounder Moeen Ali enjoyed his first run-out of the tour, bowling 16 wicketless overs on his return from a side strain. There was a massive amount of hostile barracking from a rowdy Queensland crowd that will warm-up England for the ever hostile Gabba.