'Although we do realise he is Superhuman' - Woakes wants England to shed reliance on Ben Stokes

The England seamer urged the batting unit to pull off the remaining 224 runs in Headingley without needing their skipper to hammer the opposition attack. 
Ben Stokes

As England approach a potentially series-transforming Day 5 of the Headingley Ashes 2023 Test with a further 224 runs needed to keep the urn alive, Chris Woakes had a damning word to tell to the home team batters: do not be so reliant on skipper Ben Stokes to propel them through. 

England have all 10 wickets intact to ace the 251-run target on a Leeds track playing a touch tricky without hardly ever bordering on extreme. But Woakes dwelled on home team's collapse in the first innings where it required another Stokes rearguard act to eat into the Australian lead and reduce it to 26 to attain a near-equilibrium in the Test, which ultimately helped the bowlers in the third-innings. 

Woakes, who was one of the protagonists behind England forcing their way back in the game by dismissing the tourists for 224 on a rain-marred Saturday, said if Sunday is to end with a 2-1 scoreline for the series, England need to shed their over-dependence on the 'Superhuman' at No.6. 

Woakes asks England to overcome Stokes dependence 

Twice in the series now, it has been Ben Stokes keeping England alive in the contest. After pulling off a spectacular 155 at Lord's to ignite his team's hopes in the face of adversity and ultimate defeat, Stokes took the aggressive route again on Day 2 in Leeds and blasted his way to 80 off 108 deliveries, featuring 6 fours and 5 sixes. Without his memorable feat, England could've handed over a sizeable lead enough to fuel Australia's target and distance the winning post. 

"It would be nice to do it a little bit easier. We don't want to be reliant on Ben all the time," Woakes told the press. "Although we do realise he's superhuman, he can't do it every time. Across the board, from 1 to 11, we've got to put a good shift in and try and get us over the line. It's an opportunity to do something special."

"There is more excitement than nerves. We are excited at the thought of chasing down a score, winning the Test and keeping ourselves in the series," he added. 

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Four innings into the series, Stokes is England's highest run-getter of the Ashes 2023 with 296 runs at an average touching 60, comfortably ahead of the next best Ben Duckett with 232 runs at nearly 14 runs less apiece.