After all the criticisms England pace bowler Stuart Broad has faced off late, including calls to be dropped for the 2nd Test against Pakistan, the pace bowler was at his supreme best at Headingley. There was purpose and character shown by Broad. Bowling full, beating the outside edge and having his hands on his head many times, it was the reminiscence of a yesteryear Broad. He was ably supported by James Anderson and Chris Woakes.
The trio took three wickets each to bowl Pakistan out for 174 on Day One of the 2nd Test. England’s pacers set it up nicely with a collective performance. They utilized the seamer-friendly pitch to perfection and had Pakistan on the mat at 79/7, but Shadab Khan (57) helped the visitors get to 174.
At the end of the day, England finished at 106/2, with former England captain Alastair Cook falling at the fag end of the day. But it will be one of those innings where England’s bowling will be cherished. The red ball did so much of talking and the pace battery made it count in swinging conditions.
The way Broad bowled at times he will be now looking to build on from here and if he can get his side to a victory, that will count a lot ahead of a blockbuster Test series against India, starting from August 1 onwards. Let’s have a look at Broad on how he has hung on through times after a series of unimpressive performances since that series against South Africa in 2017.
Broad had a disappointing Ashes
In the 2017-18 Ashes, Broad picked a paltry 11 wickets in five Tests. He tried too hard at times and did not trouble the Aussies consistently. One felt, that the player had started to lose the authority in Tests especially when the Australian pacers were tearing apart England. Broad’s opening partner Anderson too showed his mettle for the visitors. So where that it leaves Broad?
If you look at his bowling average, it was a whopping 47.72, which was close to double than that of all the other top pacers that finished with a flurry of wickets. Broad looked frustrated and the rhythm was missing. Besides his 4/51 in the fourth Test, the Ashes for him was hugely disappointing.
Series against SA, WI wasn’t good either
Prior to the Ashes, England played two home series against the Proteas and Windies. The right-arm fast bowler managed to pick just 20 wickets in a total of seven Tests at home where conditions somewhat was supposed to help him massively. Broad averaged a 33.90 which was deafening, given Anderson’s 14.10. Even the likes of Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes had better impact than Broad.
2017 had seen Broad have a forgettable year in which his scalps came at 36 runs apiece including home and away.
|VERSUS SA, WI
Workload and belief helped Broad
Broad spent 10 days between tours alone in the Trent Bridge indoor nets rediscovering his feel for bowling and addressing the open left shoulder that was scuppering his wrist position in release. Broad influenced some changes in his game since February. The results quickly helped him get a new sense of belief.
Ahead of the two-match Test series against Kiwis, Broad had gone on to state that, he felt his time is coming. He wasn’t wrong. Against NZ, although England lost the series 1-0, Broad finished with 11 wickets with a best of 6/54. That was a series of utmost importance for Broad to hold on to his place and he made sure he did not waste the chance. He had also gone past 400 career wickets in Tests in that series.
Calls for an omission and then such a show!
Against Pakistan at Lord’s, Broad was once again inconsistent. He did not pitch the balls at the right places and gave the visitors the freedom to build on the same. So-much-so, that former England captain Michael Vaughan went on to claim that he would drop fast bowler Broad for England’s second Test.
Vaughan had questioned Broad’s place in the side and felt the team got too comfortable in playing him consistently. Pak won the first Test by nine wickets and in response to all the questions and criticisms, Broad hit back.
The player took only one over to set the tone for an England display showing all the intensity, discipline and determination that was missing at Lord’s. In his second delivery itself, he had Imam-ul-Haq given leg before, only for the decision to be overturned. In the final ball, Imam aimed a loose drive at a wide ball and was well held by skipper Joe Root at third slip.
As the ball swung, the fast bowler reaped the rewards of a fuller length and pinned Azhar Ali leg before to leave Pakistan 17-2. Later on, he swung the ball back into the pads of Usman Salahuddin to trap the debutant in front. Overall, Broad could have claimed more than his 3-38, but he and the rest of the attack beat the bat time and again.