BROAD’S BLITZ

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID CLOUGH AT EDG­BAS­TON ■ Email: yp.sport@ypn.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @YPS­port

Pace bowler rips through West Indies to sur­pass boy­hood idol Botham

STU­ART BROAD can sense when he is about to start one of his un­stop­pable spells of bowl­ing.

He not only clinched Eng­land’s three-day ham­mer­ing of the West Indies with one such stint, but of course went past his boy­hood hero Sir Ian Botham when he took three wick­ets for four runs in 11 balls at Edg­bas­ton on Satur­day.

Broad, renowned for streaks of wicket-tak­ing which leave in­ter­na­tional bat­ting line-ups in ut­ter dis­ar­ray, has 384 to Botham’s 383 – and af­ter Eng­land’s in­ningsand-209-run trounc­ing of the West Indies in this coun­try’s in­au­gu­ral day/night Test, the 31-yearold has only team-mate James An­der­son ahead of him in the na­tional all-time list.

It was a mi­nor sur­prise even that, af­ter equalling Botham with two wick­ets in two balls, Broad’s lat­est hat-trick bid was foiled by the tail-end de­fence of Ke­mar Roach as he again homed in on the stumps.

There was lit­tle doubt that the his­toric mo­ment was merely suf­fer­ing a mi­nor de­lay, how­ever – and sure enough, al­though Broad must set­tle at this stage for only two of the 14 hat-tricks taken by an English­man, he clean-bowled Shane Dowrich two overs later to move a clear sec­ond be­hind An­der­son.

Sta­tis­ti­cally, his 3-34 was small­fry by his stan­dards in an Eng­land vic­tory set up by Alas­tair Cook’s dou­ble-cen­tury, a hun­dred too from cap­tain Joe Root and some fine bowl­ing from An­der­son be­fore the West Indies were asked to fol­low-on.

Broad’s per­for­mance was rem­i­nis­cent nonethe­less of so many others that have proved far too much for op­po­nents such as Aus­tralia, South Africa and In­dia over the years.

Asked if he starts to re­alise be­fore ev­ery­one else when one of his ‘su­per spells’ is in the off­ing, Broad said: “I sort of can.

“It’s strange. I do feel light in my run-up, (and then) I think the most im­por­tant thing is I make the bats­men play pretty much ev­ery ball.”

Broad has had a steady rather than re­mark­able sum­mer so far, with 16 wick­ets in five Tests. But he felt some­thing dif­fer­ent start to click in Birm­ing­ham.

“It was prob­a­bly the nicest feel­ing I’ve had this sum­mer on the hat-trick ball,” he said. “I thought, ‘Could this hap­pen, could this be?’

“It was a great at­mos­phere run­ning in, and I just said, ‘Right, just try and hit the stumps’ ... (but) un­for­tu­nately Roach kept it out.”

No mat­ter, Broad was at the top of his game again. “It was prob­a­bly the best 40 min­utes of bowl­ing I’ve had this sum­mer,” he said.

“When I don’t get it quite right, I get pushed into sort of fifth stump and get left a few times.

“I really don’t like be­ing left – it feels like the waste of a run-up.

“I think con­sis­tently for that seven-over pe­riod it was prob­a­bly the most I made bats­men play a for­ward-de­fen­sive at me all sum­mer.”

The early fin­ish in Birm­ing­ham has left ex­tra time be­fore the next Test at Head­in­g­ley for Broad to share a cel­e­bra­tory bot­tle of wine with Botham, a man he cred­its as hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on his ca­reer, ini­tially from afar and in­creas­ingly as an unof­fi­cial team men­tor at closer quar­ters.

“He is some­one who has been a big in­flu­ence on me,” he said of his fa­ther Chris’s for­mer Eng­land team-mate.

“In the past cou­ple of years, he has spent more and more time in the chang­ing room, and the guys really lis­ten to him. He ob­vi­ously has an in­flu­ence on us, the way he per­formed against Aus­tralia ... and you can tell he wants us to do well.

“I could tell he was gen­uinely proud and de­lighted that I’d man­aged to go past him, and that’s tes­ta­ment to him.”

It is Broad and An­der­son who must carry the wicket-tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in the mid­dle these days, though.

At 35, An­der­son has moved within eight Test wick­ets of be­com­ing the first from this coun­try to reach 500, a feat Broad pre­dicts will be far from the limit of his fel­low seamer’s re­main­ing ca­reer po­ten­tial. Both are set for piv­otal roles in the forth­com­ing Ashes win­ter, and Broad is al­ready eye­ing a 2019 home re­match too.

“He’s go­ing to be cru­cial for our chances this win­ter for sure,” he said of An­der­son.

“He is pick­ing up wick­ets at a huge speed at the mo­ment and not only will he be look­ing at 500, he’ll be look­ing way past that.

“I’m 31 now and still feel like I have quite a bit of cricket left in me, a few more miles in the tank.

“I’ll be just turned 33 (in 2019) so I’d cer­tainly hope my per­for­mances will keep im­prov­ing to be a part of that Ashes for sure. I’ll play as long as that com­pet­i­tive spirit and drive is there.”

MAIN PIC­TURE: DAVID DAVIES/PA WIRE

MOV­ING ON: Stu­art Broad wheels away af­ter dis­miss­ing the West Indies’ bats­man Shane Dowrich in the first day-night Test played in this coun­try, at Edg­bas­ton. It took Broad to 384 Test wick­ets for Eng­land, one more than his boy­hood hero and now oc­ca­sional men­tor Sir Ian Botham, in­set.

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