Wickets prove elusive for Broad
It's been an expensive few days for Stuart Broad, both in financial terms and in his bowling figures. He remains wicketless in the one-day series against Sri Lanka and has been hit with a £1500 fine for swearing at Billy Bowden during the second game at Headingley.
At Lord's on Sunday, Broad ran in hard and produced one of his sharpest spells of the summer as he peppered Dinesh Chandimal with short balls. At one point he was bowling with a short leg and leg gully. However, the batsmen fended off deliveries wide or short of fielders to push Broad towards boiling point.
He ended with figures of none for 52 from 10 overs which took his series tally to none for 154 at 5.92 runs per over. However, cricket, as ever, is a game of fine margins and if a couple of edges had gone to hand, Broad's series would look different and Alastair Cook, England's one-day captain, believes a change of fortune isn't far away.
"A couple of those chances when he was bowling aggressively, they can hit the glove and bounce up but they kept avoiding fielders," Cook said. "At the moment it's not quite going for Broady, a bit like the Tests, but this what cricket does. If he gets five-for at his home ground next week it will be worth it."
The incident with Bowden at Headingley, which came after an lbw appeal was turned down in the final over of Sri Lanka's innings, was a sign of the frustration getting to Broad, who has skirted a fine line with officials in the past. It has put Cook in the interesting position of having to keep tabs on one of his fast bowlers, who is also captain of the Twenty20 team.
"He overstepped the mark, he accepts that, but he bowled well and made life uncomfortable, which is what Stuart does well," Cook said. "Broady has always played that way, it's why he's got so far in the game so quickly. Occasionally he has overstepped the mark and he knows that. When you are wrong you put your hands up."
Cook's mention of Broad's home ground at Trent Bridge, the venue for the fourth one-day international on Wednesday, suggests he is secure of his place for at least another match but England can't carry a wicketless bowler for too long. He was unconvincing in the Test series against Sri Lanka with eight wickets at 48.75 and lost the new-ball role to Chris Tremlett in the second innings at the Rose Bowl, which appeared to motivate him.
With India's top-class batting line-up around the corner, and England set for a four-man attack in the Test matches, they can't afford to carry any passengers even if Broad is an international captain. There are plenty of other candidates lining up for a chance, a list headed by Steven Finn who is in the current one-day squad.
Jade Dernbach was 12th man for the Lord's Test against Sri Lanka while Tim Bresnan, who performed so impressively in the Ashes, is now back to fitness. England showed how keen they were to have Bresnan in the team by rushing him into the side for the first ODI at The Oval. Graham Onions is also bowling well for Durham and is well-regarded in the England set-up.
It could be that the impact of Broad's winter injuries is still being felt. He only played five of England's 21 internationals across the Ashes and World Cup due to the stomach-muscle problem picked up in Adelaide and side strain against South Africa in Nagpur. He started the season slowly for Nottinghamshire and has looked short of a gallop ever since.
Nottinghamshire have one Championship match, against Somerset starting on July 11, before the first Test against India and regardless of how the final two one-dayers go against Sri Lanka Broad will surely need to play that match. As he showed against Australia in 2009 when he came out of a lean trot with 12 wickets in the final two Tests, including an Ashes-sealing 5 for 37 at The Oval, it doesn't take much to turn the corner. Broad needs that to happen soon.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo