England allrounder Chris Woakes has shown he has the potential to fill the sizable shoes of missing star Ben Stokes, taking 6-54 in his team's last warm-up game ahead of the Magellan Ashes.
The right-armer lead the way on day one against an inexperienced Cricket Australia XI in Townsville, leaving them 9-249 at the close of play.
It marked the second time in a week Woakes has made light work of the young side, after he also took 4-17 last week in Adelaide as the CA XI were rolled for 75.
On Wednesday, the English paceman took 4-8 in 22 balls during his second spell then returned to begin cleaning up the tail alongside Stuart Broad (1-33).
Test hopeful Craig Overton (2-32) also edged closer to his debut. Seemingly next in line if Jake Ball fails to recover from an ankle injury by next Thursday, the medium-pacer claimed two wickets.
Stokes' availability this summer is still uncertain, as a police investigation remains ongoing into an alleged street brawl in September.
"With Ben being away all of us have got to step up," Woakes said.
"Hopefully I can do that, hopefully I can score runs and take wickets. That's my plan. I'll be trying my best to do that."
The 28-year-old Woakes has played just one Test this year due to injury and non-selection, but averages 32.14 with the bat in Tests compared to Stokes' 35.72 and 30 with the ball.
He claimed the scalps of CA XI openers Jake Carder (39) and Nick Larkin (30) in the first two overs of his second spell of Wednesday, after the pair had put on a 66-run opening stand.
Ryan Gibson (7) and Jason Sangha (0) also fell in quick succession to the English quick after the lunch break, the latter to a ball that swung back some way and trapped him lbw.
He then had Harry Neilsen (20) caught at gully after tea before he clean bowled Simon Milenko (19) with the first delivery with the second new ball.
"I felt like today it came out pretty nicely, which was good for me," Woakes said. "I was pleased with how it came out, my rhythm was good.
"I feel like I'm building well heading into that Test series."
Offspinner Moeen Ali (0-39) also got through unscathed on return from a side strain, but the day's main concern came when wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow left the field with an injured finger.
Bairstow received attention from England's medical staff after copping a delivery on the bounce from Woakes, but returned an hour later with team officials insisting the problem was only a bruised middle finger on his left hand.
Meanwhile CA XI captain Matthew Short provided a resistance of 51, while Daniel Fallins is 29 not out after going after legspinner Mason Crane (0-87) late.
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2017-18 International Fixtures:
Magellan Ashes Series
First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets
Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets
Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets
Gillette ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets
Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets
Gillette T20 INTL Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21