England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge July 15, 2013

Broad shoulder was major worry

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Andy Flower, the England team director, has revealed that there were such serious concerns over the state of Stuart Broad's shoulder, following the blow from James Pattinson on the opening day at Trent Bridge, that the team physio spent the night with him to ensure he would be able to bowl.

Broad was struck on the right shoulder, the same one he injured diving during the Champions Trophy final and which required a cortisone injection, and was unable to take the new ball on the first evening.

He did not bowl until Australia's record-breaking last-wicket stand between Phillip Hughes and Ashton Agar was well established and sent down six expensive overs although did finally removed Agar for 98.

"We were really worried on that first night," Flower said. "It was very swollen and he and the medical team did a really good job of getting him back to bowl the following day. They worked through the night and didn't sleep much, but he should be fine for Lord's. The physio stayed with him."

From that moment on, however, Broad had a key role to play in the match by scoring 65 in England's second innings and claiming two key second-innings wickets of Shane Watson and Michael Clarke

That, though, did not stop questions being raised as to England's potential over-burdening reliance on James Anderson, who claimed 10 wickets in the match, although Flower was adamant that his team do not rest too heavily him.

Anderson claimed five wickets in each innings but was obliged to bowl 55.5 overs in draining heat as England won the first Investec Ashes Test by 14 runs. On the last day, with Australia inching closer to their target, Anderson delivered a 13-over opening spell that resulted in him having to leave the pitch with cramp. With Steven Finn proving expensive, however, Anderson was soon back on the field and took the wicket that sealed the victory.

While Flower accepted that Anderson had developed into a "great" bowler, he did not agree with the suggestion that England were over-reliant upon him. Flower was particularly keen to defend Finn, who endured a chastening final day, but had produced a couple of fine spells earlier in the game.

"It's not one-man performing," Flower said. "When you've got great players in your side they will affect games. For Jimmy Anderson to bowl more than 50 overs in the game and to take 10 wickets was a great example of skill and determination. But a lot of our guys stood up and performed well in this match.

"Steven Finn took crucial wickets in that first innings. We only had just over 200 on the board and he got Shane Watson early and Ed Cowan first ball. Those were crucial breakthroughs for us.

"That sort of striking is one of the things he's capable of with pace and bounce. He also bowled a really skilful spell of reverse swing against Michael Clarke and Steve Smith, beautiful outswing and almost got an lbw with inswing. So he made his contribution to this game as well."

He admitted that the performance of Graeme Swann at Trent Bridge - the offspinner claimed 4 for 165 in 63 overs in the match - had been disappointing, but praised Ian Bell's century as "perhaps" his best innings for England.

'I've seen a lot of very fine innings from Ian Bell," Flower said. "But in the context of what was a very tight game perhaps it was [his best]. Ian Bell was outstanding. It was a really skilful innings. But, more importantly, I think it was an innings full of courage and guts and resilience.

"No, I don't think Swann was at his best, I agree, but that was nothing to do with injuries.

"No-one will ever play perfect cricket, it's not the way the world works nor the game works. We played some excellent cricket. Bell was outstanding; Anderson was a great example of skill and determination. Those are things that stand out in my mind. Bell diving twice and Jonny Bairstow diving to keep Brad Haddin on strike in that final over. Those are the things I like thinking about."

Flower also defended Broad after he chose not to 'walk' to a thick outside edge that the umpire, Aleem Dar, missed.

"When I played cricket I didn't walk when I'd edged it so I'd be a hypocrite to say that all other players should walk," Flower said. "Most players leave it to the umpires to make the decision and I don't think there's anything wrong with that."

Meanwhile an ECB spokesman provided reassurance over the fitness of Matt Prior. England's wicketkeeper missed a Professional Cricketers' Association golf day on Monday citing some soreness in his Achilles, but the ECB insisted that Prior was simply resting through an abundance of caution and confirmed that no other wicketkeeper was on standby.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AKS286 on July 17, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    Swanny will be the key man in Lords. Not a good news about Broad. If he don't play in second test I'll be supportin Tremlett. Bresnan with lack of pace and bounce will be a risk in Lords. Lords pitch requires bowlers like Tremlett and Footit with pace, bounce and aggressive.

  • JG2704 on July 17, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    @ CustomKid on (July 16, 2013, 23:28 GMT) Just a small thing. I'd count UAE as away rather than neutral. Pakistan have pretty much made it their home.

    Think I agree with jmcilhinney on (July 16, 2013, 8:47 GMT) re him polarising opinion and Mikewright in that re fans on cricinfo he gets more criticism than praise on these boards

  • CustomKid on July 16, 2013, 23:28 GMT

    @JG2704 You're welcome :)

    The stats come from Cricinfo stats guru which is awesome. You are correct about the UAE, In NZ he averages 31.

    Home 127 wkts @ 27.60 away 57 wkts @ 40.84 Neutral (UAE) 13 wkts @ 20.46

  • JG2704 on July 16, 2013, 20:43 GMT

    @CustomKid on (July 16, 2013, 10:30 GMT) What a refreshingly balanced response there and thanks for the compliments. Most people either ignore responses when I disagree or give it a hissy fit. The one thing I strongly disagree with is doubting his ticker as I honestly believe he's as passionate and willing as anyone. Sometimes I think the heart and passion he has takes over his brain and affects his thinking I think the problem is (as you pointed out) is that he seems so injury prone and despite him being one of my favourite players I still question his selection in a 4 man attack. Not sure where those stats came from and I'm not disputing them but even away from home he was our best pace bowler in both UAE and NZ but was poor in the one test in India and the one test in SL but was injured in the latter

  • android_user on July 16, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    People who question Broad should realise that it was Broad who took the most dangerous batters in the second innings. Especially Clarkes wicket was a peach. I really do not know why this flak against any player after such a great test match victory. From Andy Flowers perspective, there are matches one or two bowlers are going to be down. If you keep sacking them then you will have a pool of 20 players and selection will become a nightmare. But Fin has lost his edge ever since the ICC made him to change his delivery stride to not hit the stumps. He is not going to be the same. Happy to be proven wrong.

  • dummy4fb on July 16, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    Anderson supreme. But Broad and especailly Finn not great. A long way from Harmison, Flintoff, Hoggard, Jones in 2005. But then Aus do not have Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Katich, Gilchrist either!

    Swann's wickets per match in 2009: Cardiff 0; Lord's 4; Edgbaston 2; Leeds 0; Oval 8 ! He'll come good for sure. again.

  • dummy4fb on July 16, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    Posted by Venkat Sraman on (July 16,2013) Bowlers getting injured have now been frequent affair in cricket.Let us hope for the best.However,honesty will prevail upon in the rest of the Ashes series.

  • CustomKid on July 16, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    @mikewright fair call although I think your doing jimmy a disservice to compare him to broad. I still find it hard to believe Anderson is as good as he is given how bad he was pre 2009.

    His average of 29 is pretty impressive when he was treated as cannon fodder back in the day. He was treated with disdain back when the Aussies were flying and they were lining up to face him, how times have changed. The turn around has been remarkable and credit to him as I always thought he was average. You cannot ignore what he has done in the last 3 years trent bridge was brilliant. I would still take Dale Styne first pick but JA would be second on the list.

    I'm not sure broad has that in him and his body is a bit fragile. I think if he could stay fit he may reach those heights but he has a way to go yet.

  • CustomKid on July 16, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    @JG2704 I alway appreciate your balanced comments and always a pleasure to read. I guess when you dislike someone you tend to ignore the good performances. Perfect example the oval 2009. Not much happening and bam 6 for not many. I don't know the adult version of Malfoy just irks me. Now to think of it so did his old man or what I can remember of him I was pretty young back then.

    I just had a look at his stats 127 wickets at 27 on home soil, and 72 at 40 away. A pretty big difference but it can only get better I guess. I'm sure he'll get a bag in this series at some point, time will tell but if he gets slapped around ill also sleep easy.

  • mikewright on July 16, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    @customkid

    I'm not really sure what media and fan praise you are talking about. For someone with such a respectable test record, the amount of genuine hate he gets is ridiculous. His record is not as good as it should be, but the fact that his bowling average is only 1 run higher than Andersons and his batting average is much is worth considering.

    His stats are remarkably similar to Mitchell Johnsons. However whereas MJs career started spectacularly and has been falling away for the last few years, Broads has been at a more consistent level throughout. He has had short periods of ineffectiveness and occassional spectacular successes, but the peaks and troughs are nowhere near as defined as MJs.

    Like Finn (and Anderson before that), he has been negatively affected by poor guidance from within the England management.