Woakes shines for Lions but Aussies hit back

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The Independent Online

Chris Woakes's 92 failed to prevent Australia A from grasping the initiative at the halfway point of their four-day game against England Lions at Old Trafford as the visitors replied strongly to 315.

Woakes, who has scored two first-class hundreds for Warwickshire this year, added to half-centuries from Eoin Morgan and Samit Patel. But Australia took charge in the evening as captain Ed Cowan finished the day unbeaten on 77 in a score of 127 for 1.

Woakes' county team-mate, Boyd Rankin, has announced his intention to retire from international cricket with Ireland in an attempt to play Test cricket for England – who yesterday deplaced Australia to top the one-day rankings for the first time. Rankin is available for Ireland in the World Twenty20 which starts in Sri Lanka next month, with the squad being finalised this weekend. Rankin, 28, said: "It's been a difficult decision for me but I will be retiring from playing cricket for Ireland after the World T20."

Meanwhile, former South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher has revealed that he lost the lens, iris and pupil of his left eye in the freak accident at a match that forced him to retire early from the game. Boucher discussed his recovery for the first time since the accident last month during a tour match against Somerset. "I have been in a lot of pain," he said. "It does get uncomfortable at times and being a sportsman, I want to be active and outdoors but, without a pupil, I find any amount of sunlight very harsh and have thus been restricted to the confines of my home."