Woakes (three for 30) and Chris Jordan (three for 32) both registered new career Test bests at The Oval as England's seamers hustled India out for 148 despite captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's admirable 82.
After Alastair Cook and Sam Robson then closed day one of this fifth Investec Test with 62 on the board for no loss, and therefore their highest opening stand together to date, England were already on the perfect course to close out a series victory from 2-1 up.
Woakes came into this contest with doubts being expressed by some about his effectiveness at the highest level after just two wickets spread over three Tests. But captain Cook had expressed none, describing Woakes as outstandingly unlucky -especially in the series-levelling win at the Ageas Bowl last month.
The man himself did not lose faith either, and is naturally delighted to have begun to prove himself properly. "I suppose you often think 'am I ever going to pick up a wicket?'," he said. "But you try to keep telling yourself you're doing the right things.
"I felt like today I did that and got those rewards. As long as you are contributing to the team in some way - whether it's holding up an end or bowling in a partnership - you can carry on."
Woakes and Jordan were bowling a little in the shadow of Stuart Broad and James Anderson in last week's Test at Old Trafford. But here, they showed they can have a cutting edge too. "It's nice to finally pick up a few wickets and contribute," added Woakes. "I felt like I'd bowled reasonably well over the last few Test matches and not got the rewards."
His performance exemplified a clinical display for England, who were nonetheless frustrated by Dhoni in a last-wicket stand of 58 with Ishant Sharma. "It's been a very good day," said the Warwickshire pace bowler. "Winning the toss and bowling first, and then the way Broady and Jimmy set the tone again was fantastic, and to bowl them out for less than 150 was perfect.
"The pressure we're building from both ends has helped in the last couple of games. Then the way the boys finished on 60 without loss was a very good end to the day as well."
Woakes was still wicketless when Cook posted Joe Root at an unaccustomed short gully, with a helmet on, where he snaffled a smart catch to see off Murali Vijay. It was an apt indication that things are going right for England and their captain, all of a sudden. "It was the captain's idea. A couple had fallen short in that area, so he decided to stick Rooty in under the lid a little bit closer - and obviously it worked," said Woakes.
India's fielding coach Trevor Penney conceded little had gone right. "The first session was crucial, not to lose that many wickets and that sort of set us back for a pretty poor day really," he sighed.