England v India, 1st npower Test, Lord's, 3rd day

Full-length Broad rediscovers his best

In a soaring day's work, Stuart Broad scattered the cream of India's batting and propelled England's bid to become the No.1 Test team in the world

Andrew Miller at Lord's

July 23, 2011

Comments: 31 | Text size: A | A

Stuart Broad had Sachin Tendulkar caught at slip, England v India, 1st Test, Lord's, 3rd day, July 23, 2011
Stuart Broad stole the script by dismissing Sachin Tendulkar for 34 on his way to four wickets at Lord's © Associated Press
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"It's not rocket science, gentlemen. You have to bowl the ball at the top of off stump." It was Matthew Hayden who uttered this memorable put-down at Melbourne during the 2006-07 Ashes whitewash, on a day when England's bowlers had been humiliated on the field and off it. First came a match-settling 279-run stand between Hayden and Andrew Symonds, then came the theft of their exhaustive but useless bowling plans. In every respect, England had lost the plot.

Right now, England's collective fortunes could not be further removed from that nadir, but for Stuart Broad the past few weeks have been a personal quest to rediscover a plot of his own. Lo and behold, as Hayden could have told him, it turns out it had been pinned to the top of that off stump all along.

In a soaring day's work, Broad replicated almost perfectly the unstoppable momentum he developed in the two most eye-catching spells of his career, at The Oval in 2009 and at Durban four months later, as he scattered the cream of India's batting and propelled England's bid to become the No.1 Test team in the world.

"I think it was quite obvious I bowled a fuller length today," said Broad at the close of play. "I thought about getting a cover in, still keeping three slips and getting rid of the gully which allowed me to bowl that fuller length without the thought of getting hit for four. I think that worked, getting the batsmen driving, and that length can still hit the stumps on a pretty slow Lord's wicket. I'll obviously look to do that in the future as well."

Going into this, his 38th Test, it's doubtful whether Broad's stock had ever been lower, and most pundits - this one included - would have preferred to give him a spell on the sidelines. It wasn't simply that his form was in a visible funk, with his eight wickets against Sri Lanka coming at a slack average of 48.75 and an economy rate pushing four an over. It was also the pressing claims of the fit-again Tim Bresnan, a bowler whose stump-threatening approach had reaped such rewards at the sharp end of the Ashes, after Broad himself had flown home with a stomach tear.

On the first day of this Test, as Broad's fortunes bottomed out with a first-ball duck, Bresnan served notice of his Test readiness with an heroic performance for Yorkshire in the Roses match at Headingley - first he drove like the clappers up the M1 to help transform a scoreline of 45 for 8 to 239 all out, then he claimed 4 for 50 in 24 second-innings overs to give his team a ghost of an improbable sniff of victory. Broad had no choice but to up his own game in response, because England have a wealth of options at present, and there's no room for living on reputations.

Instead, he responded with such an impressive performance, it simply beggars belief that Broad does not try to reap his rewards in such a manner more often. He was fast and he was straight, as he shaped the ball through the air in both directions with an imperceptible cantilevering of the seam. He challenged the base of the stumps and the splice of the bat in equal measure, thanks to variable bounce generated by a strong wrist position and the full use of his 6'6" height. And he channelled his aggression like a mongrel with a bone, clinging to his line and length so tenaciously that a succession of batsmen were made to know that their first false stroke would be their last.

The openers Gautam Gambhir and Abhinav Mukund made the mistake of blinking first and were both drawn into loose drives of the "you miss, I hit" variety. Next came the end of Sachin Tendulkar's century quest, thanks to a gem on off stump that kissed the edge and skimmed low to second slip. And incredibly, Broad should have claimed all five of India's world-beating top-order in the space of 47 balls, when VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid were each dropped in the space of a single over.

Though that gross aberration allowed India a vital opportunity to regroup, Broad's intensity did not waver as seven runs were squeezed out of his next eight overs. And when, at last, the new ball had been taken and Praveen Kumar was taking the long handle to his colleagues, only then did Broad slip his length back to the middle of the pitch, and bludgeon Kumar from the crease with a delivery that lived up to his reputation for possessing "the best bouncer in world cricket".

That was one of two unfortunate utterances from England's otherwise pitch-perfect bowling coach, David Saker - a man whose marshalling of the recent Ashes strategy has bought him a stature that rivals that of Troy Cooley after the 2005 triumph. However, Saker's desire to puff up a bowler whom he recognises as a kindred spirit backfired spectacularly down in Southampton last month, when he unwisely referred to Broad as his "enforcer". Both Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss were swift to distance their man from such a label, and almost immediately, Broad reminded himself of the delights of a full length with a timely five-wicket haul for Nottinghamshire in the County Championship.

It is simplistic to say that Broad should always bowl in this manner, because like Andrew Flintoff before him, there is a great deal to be said for a player who can operate in tandem with another member of the attack, and build the pressure that earns wickets at the other end of the pitch. After all, the best and most under-rated spell of Broad's early career came in a crunch contest at Napier back in March 2008, when he banged out a brutal mid-pitch length to set up Ryan Sidebottom for a series-seizing seven-wicket haul with his left-arm swing.

Similarly, Broad's defensive attributes went unnoticed during England's great escape in Brisbane during the Ashes, when he alone found the means to prevent Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin from crushing their opponents' will during their first-innings triple-century stand. It was unglamorous in the extreme, and hardly represents a blip on the scorecard, but as all bowlers know, the days of hard yakka are always going to outweigh those fleeting moments of glory.

"As a player you get asked to do different roles within the side," said Broad. "Within the changing room, everyone has always known I'm best when I pitch the ball up and get a little bit of movement. But when that moment comes when a bowler is needed to rough a batsman up or get two men out on the hook and try to unsettle someone, then the ball gets thrown to me because my bouncer is pretty good and it's got a decent yard [of pace] in it."

All the same, in an improbable echo of Kevin Pietersen's penchant for the big occasion, Broad's three finest England spells have now come in a must-win Ashes decider, a vastly significant overseas victory, and now, potentially, a memorable win against the leading Test team in the world. Given those returns, maybe he'll now see the full length as the first course of action, rather than the length of last resort. He's an England captain after all. He needs to know his own mind first and foremost.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by thestunner316_15 on (July 24, 2011, 13:47 GMT)

@!5wombats - english attack is scary?? seriously?? lol... man you crack me up.. the windies attack of the 80s was scary.. even the 90s when the english shelled bricks in their pants when ambrose ran riot... i dont think any attack in the world today is "scary"... england 72/5... well if ur not careful, u might end up losing this test u konw....

Posted by kumarcoolbuddy on (July 24, 2011, 13:45 GMT)

Yesterday I mentioned following about Indian bowlers "Hope Ishant comes back with some confidence added to his good skills. For Indian bowlers it's alwyas the matter of confidence." This is what happened today. Everyone said Ishant was bad choice despite his good performance in WI. But he got his confidence back. Its all matter of confidence for Indian bowlers.

Posted by SagirParkar on (July 24, 2011, 10:59 GMT)

very well composed and written article Mr Miller.. i like the way you have kept the flow in the prose.. well done..

Posted by 5wombats on (July 24, 2011, 9:15 GMT)

@onnie_me; "English attak is not that scary really"...."..Its gonna be a well dominated draw by the indians". You know what - you're right; bowling out the "world's number one side" with those brilliant "3 Legends" for under 300 on a flat track is pretty poor - just imagine what a really scarry bowling attack would have done! And you are right too that india are really dominating this game in order to bring it to a draw. All in all - a brillian performance by india. Bravo. india have already lost the first 3 days badly and are 200 runs behind - but they are going to "dominate" the game. OK....

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (July 24, 2011, 8:20 GMT)

i m really confused about this honours board criterion . sachin doesn't get a hundred at lords , so he is not in the honours board . but if you recall , agarkar gets a hundred here in 2002 . dilip vengsarkar has get 3 hundreds here in 1990's . does that mean agarkar is good batsmen than sachin ?

Posted by bhaloniaz on (July 24, 2011, 7:18 GMT)

For England to win they have to score 260 runs in two sessions. If England could bat whole day in the first day, it would be different. England may see off PK for the first hour and so and then have to come out and score. Harbhajan is the key for india. If he can lock one side, Dhoni can rotate PK/Ishant/himself/Raina on the other side. But if England can score easily against him, India would be in big trouble. Ishant is not consistent and India is one bowler short. England almost have to play it like a 60 over match. Even a 450 run lead is not enough. Chances are Tremlett and Anderson both would do better in the second innings. Even swan can be dangerous.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2011, 7:05 GMT)

For all the talk about whether he deserved to make the cut ahead of Bresnan, Broad has shown great character. I do not like him much for the tantrums he throws and for the favoritism he is shown; but yesterday, he was just special.. well done!!

Posted by Return-of-Sinhaya on (July 24, 2011, 7:00 GMT)

@5wombats ,this is a much better first test performance from indians than in SA... india were bowled out for less than 150 in first innings and piled 460 in thier follow against the best bowling attack in sa....English attak is not that scary really, one wud mention dravids missed chance on 40s and so did india messed with Kp in 40s and he went on to score 200....Don expect vvs and raina to throw their wickets in the way they did in second innings.......Its gonna be a well dominated draw by the indians....Indians wud keep improving by every innings they play

Posted by subbass on (July 24, 2011, 6:51 GMT)

I wonder if there are still any 4-0 India predictions ? :p

But on a serious note, well doen to Broad I thought they should stick with him for his game, as other posters have pointed out, Broad is a far more talented bowler than Bresnan, that's taking nothing away from Bresnan who is a cricketer I have a lot of time for, but Broad is class on his day. And hopefully there will be many more times when he is on his day ! As far as the match goes, well it is crucial that England set India around 475 then get 1 or 2 wickets before the close of play. Anything less than that and you have to favour the draw.

Posted by Alexk400 on (July 24, 2011, 5:30 GMT)

I want england to win first Test. That makes next 3 test very interesting. India has to fight not play for regular draw. Then game will be interesting to watch. Also if sehwag comes back in 3rd test and most probably zaheer will also play in 3rd test. Even sehwag out for zero , that game will be totally different. There will be macho feeling in Indian dressing room. I want england to declare 30 min before tea with 260 runs scored and 440+runs target to win it for india. if india escpes , it will be all over for england actually. if england win that , they can win 2nd test also with same formula. i would send bell as pinch hitter as 1 down tomorrow. He can hit crisp 40s. ENgland must score 100 /2 runs min in first 2 hrs .

Posted by Alexk400 on (July 24, 2011, 5:22 GMT)

i did n't expect broad to bowl that well. But you have to give to him because he normally bowl short of length useless balls. He did good. He needs to do that again as anderson not clicking as much i expected. He needs to learn from steyn and how he got dravid out. you need almost perfect ball to get sachin and dravid out.

Posted by SLsupport on (July 24, 2011, 3:55 GMT)

I think more indians were commenting on Eng vs Sl series.They must have got sick of their team.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2011, 3:39 GMT)

Well done broady,his talent was never in doubt.the spells at the oval and durban justified it.i thought chris tremlett and graeme swann were brilliant too.tremlett was a threat with his pace and bounce and that can unsettle india this series.but there is a long way to go,india are generally slow starters in away tests.just hope both sides are on their top,it'l be a rivetting contest,just like the ind aus series in 2001

Posted by lefty84 on (July 24, 2011, 3:08 GMT)

It was a wonderful day for test cricket. The session between lunch and tea was a riveting contest between bat and ball. Sachin and Dravid ran away with initial honors but Broad bowled an excellent spell of swing bowling to push India on the backfoot. Shows the depth in English bowling ranks now with Bresnan and Finn not even able to make the cut to the eleven.

England on top now and India will have to play really well in 2nd Innings to save the test from here.

@5wombats - Cricket isn't played on paper but its the hard efforts on field which has translated to the numbers on the paper you're referring to and you can't write off Indian team from saving this test yet. Dravid has shown today that the hunger for runs is still there and the others would definitely put up their hands in next innings.

Posted by getsetgopk on (July 24, 2011, 3:05 GMT)

goes to show speed does matter alot. you have to be quick to get wickets but more importantly get them quicker. praveen kumar got 5 wickets but useless in the end because by that time england were 20 odd runs short of 500.

Posted by getsetgopk on (July 24, 2011, 3:05 GMT)

goes to show speed does matter alot. you have to be quick to get wickets but more importantly get them quicker. praveen kumar got 5 wickets but useless in the end because by that time england were 20 odd runs short of 500.

Posted by jr1972 on (July 24, 2011, 2:53 GMT)

Well bowled Broad. Now can he back this up and be the bowler he has shown us all in glimpses. You don't take your wickets at an average of 35+ and not have your doubters @m0se. Let's all hope that this is a true line in the sand and that Broad becomes a consistantly potent bowler not the one we have seen on far too many occasions, the one that is prone to dropping his length and his head. England will undoubtedly be a better side if the former is evident.

Posted by mensan on (July 24, 2011, 2:37 GMT)

STOP THE PRESS. BCCI to arrange 5 test home series against Zimbabwe to give chance to Tendulkar to score 100th 100.

Posted by HatsforBats on (July 24, 2011, 2:12 GMT)

@landl47 and Meety: I don't think there's much doubt that Broad is a more talented bowler than Bresnan. I think it's quite similar to the Mitchell Johnson Mystery. There may be more consistent bowlers who get regular results, but what he offers (when it comes) is just unplayable and decimates batting sides. Will be good to see England really go after the bowling tomorrow and attack. Promoting Morgan/Bell over Trott would be a good sign. I don't want to see Cook plod his way to a 220 ball century.

Posted by kumarcoolbuddy on (July 24, 2011, 2:09 GMT)

Very good bowling by Broad. He is the only bowler who looked attacking and impressive. Kudos to Dravid for his batting which saved India from follow-on. Since Indians are getting used to conditions we shud see improvement in second innings. Mukund and VVS gifted their wickets which is their mistake but that should not happen in second innings. Similarly India should not miss any run-outs or catches. Hope Ishant comes back with some confidence added to his good skills. For Indian bowlers it's alwyas the matter of confidence. After watching ENG bowling today Indian bowling attack with Zaheer is equivalent to ENG bowling attack in England conditions.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (July 24, 2011, 1:31 GMT)

Interesting comments about day 3. Broad doesn't suddenly become a "world/all time great" based on this one (albeit excellebt) performance! Nor does Tendulkar & VVS becme second rate has-beens - based on one innings! The no 1 test spot is a joke and there is nothing to choose between the top 4 or so test sides. Home advantage is significant but so is momentum and England have it at the moment. I'm hoping for a resounding England win but there's plenty of cricket left - even in this one! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by gerardpereira20 on (July 24, 2011, 1:20 GMT)

India were just awful. Laxman and Raina didnt look like they were going to stick around Dhoni was awicket waiting to fall. Tendulkar is consumed with his hundred hundred. Everybody who harps on about the last time India were here forgets that then India had Kumble and Ganguly in the team.

Posted by m0se on (July 23, 2011, 23:56 GMT)

This is what I don't get about the Broad doubters. Broad showed today could clean up the much vaunted Indian top order in a space of 8 overs. He has done similar to this in a few occasions as mentioned in the article, the Oval ashes of 09 especially comes to mind. This vast depth in the ability and as the article says, penchant for the big occasion makes him a potential champion test cricketer. Yesterday, we saw Pieterson get his double hundred smashing 4 6 2 4, another man of vast depth of ability and penchant for the big occasion. similarly having to trawl through murky insinuations for his place in the team.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (July 23, 2011, 23:55 GMT)

Fascinating stage of this first and vital test match. England are showing their class and even the best of Dravid doesn't detract from KP's masterclass. India are in trouble and if England keep up this bowling intensity it should be a victory for the home side. Whilst cricket is unpredictable and India have some great batters, there's no escaping that India have a toothless uh er 'attack'. If England had held their catches India could have been rolled over for around 200.... I expect England to set a target of 400 and if the quicks don't run through India - I expect Swanny to do so on a 5th day pitch. Only the rain can save India from here but PLEASE let's forget how big Tendulkar has been for the Indian game and send him on his way to Nottingham with respect - but no honours board entry! Should be some entertaining India bashing tomorrow and maybe a quick fire ton from KP? COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by landl47 on (July 23, 2011, 23:49 GMT)

Everyone who saw him rip out the Australian middle order on a blameless pitch at the Oval in 2009 knew that he had it in him. The questions is whether he'll become a Dale Steyn or a Mitch Johnson- someone who does it most of the time or who only does it now and again. The wickets were impressive (and the two balls off which catches were dropped maybe even more so) but equally important was his economy rate; 37 runs in 22 overs against the one of the best batting sides in the world. He needs to keep doing that, aiming for the top of off stump and keeping a full length. He'll have days when things don't go his way, but with his height and natural variation he'll have a lot more when they do. @Meety: on this form, Broad is better than Bresnan- Tim's an honest tryer, but he couldn't have bowled the spell Broad bowled today. @ Dravid_G: it isn't the same bowler. That one was a kid of 21.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2011, 23:35 GMT)

If India manage to squeeze out a draw here that would be hurting the English as did last time with one wicket remaining,...lol :))

Posted by 5wombats on (July 23, 2011, 23:28 GMT)

Well - it's all turned very quiet on these conversations. Apart from @Meety, nice that only the saner more realistic fans are here. In some ways this reminds me of The Ashes - where England consistently bowled Australia out for under 300 and then went on to win big. indian batting is better on paper than Aussie batting. But cricket isn't played on paper is it @Meety? The most amazing thing about today wasn't England rolling india over for 286 - it was Anderson not turning up. I'll take any odds against that happening again. Broad made up forAnderson - and was back to his best. Considering that England were put in to bat on a bowlers dream of a day what has happened so far in this Test is one hell of a statement.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2011, 23:13 GMT)

indian bowler Inshant should see how board pitched the ball and should repeat the same technique for india. coz praveen is in his best, but inshant should raise up. just do what board did.

Posted by Meety on (July 23, 2011, 22:27 GMT)

Interestingly poised with ENgland obviously on top. Probably SHOULD be 180 overs left. A lead of 190+, England will want to go for quick runs - but when to declare? Last time India were in England they JUST ran out of time. I would imagine they'd want around 4 sessions at India. So if they score at 4 rpo - (do-able if they treat the 2nd innings like an ODI) they should have around a 450 run lead. The Indians on the other hand are pretty good at keeping it tight (not withstanding a KP onslaught). Strauss may consider an earlier declaration as India are minus the Sehwag factor. But even 450 runs is less than 4 rpo for India! I think India will back their batsmen to bat out 120 overs though. Laxman will probably pull out one of his 2nd innings specials. A dominating draw will almost be a loss for England.

Posted by Meety on (July 23, 2011, 22:17 GMT)

Great bowling by Broad - a lot of credit must go to Flower & whoever who corrected his length. Still reckon Bresnan is better. England need to win this test as I think India will get stronger as the season wears on. -- -- -- Dravid - what a champion. I was sure he was washed up, remains to be seen how he does in the rest of the series - but great start. -- -- -- Good come by England as at 0/60 odd - there'd of been some concerns that India would make a big reply.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (July 23, 2011, 22:15 GMT)

Simply put - Awesome. This is a very talented bloke who seems to have loads of arrogance while playing. But he sounded so honest during the interview after the day's play. Am I being prejudiced against him? It would be wonderful if he puts his head down and masters that length. He is genuinely quick. I can't believe this is the same bowler who got whacked for six sixers.

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
Tour Results
England v India at Cardiff - Sep 16, 2011
England won by 6 wickets (with 10 balls remaining) (D/L method)
England v India at Lord's - Sep 11, 2011
Match tied (D/L method)
England v India at The Oval - Sep 9, 2011
England won by 3 wickets (with 7 balls remaining) (D/L method)
England v India at Southampton - Sep 6, 2011
England won by 7 wickets (with 5 balls remaining)
England v India at Chester-le-Street - Sep 3, 2011
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