England v Australia, 4th Investec Ashes Test, Durham, 2nd day August 10, 2013

Broad shoulders the burden

Weighed down by impossibly high expectations, Stuart Broad again produced a performance to hint at greatness
  shares 29

It is never hard to understand why England persevere with Stuart Broad. Even on days when his body seems fragile, when he looks more of a slogger than the classy batsman he has shown he can be and when he releases the ball with all the force of a shuttlecock, he still looks as if he has all the raw ingredients to develop into a top-class international cricketer.

Perhaps he already has. After all, aged 27, he has passed 200 Test wickets, scored nearly 2000 Test runs and played a part in a World Twenty20 win, three successful Ashes series and the England team achieving the No. 1 Test ranking.

Yet the sense is there is more to come. The sense is that, with all that ability and all the faith the England selectors have invested in Broad, that he should be even better. That good isn't good enough; he has to be great.

That is quite a burden for a young cricketer. But when Broad first appeared in county cricket, he looked a player of such outrageous potential that there were hopes he could develop into something approach Glenn McGrath as a bowler and Andrew Flintoff as a batsman. That is a desperately high bench mark.

That may be part of the reason some have become infuriated with him. He has so much natural talent and so many of the advantages that were denied his predecessors - not least a central contract and the security of continuity of selection - that a Test bowling average of 31 and a batting average of 25 appear a disappointing return six years into a Test career that promised more.

It is true that Broad has, at times, been more decorative than functional. Times when he has been long on potential and short on delivery. When watching him has been like waiting for a Faberge egg to hatch.

But whenever you think you can write off Broad, he produces a performance like this. A performance of such undeniable class and skill that it would seem madness to even contemplate dropping him. When, after all the time invested in him, it still seems he might just fulfil all those lofty ambitions people had for him.

He does not do it often enough, of course, but even this year - a year when he has supposedly struggled - he has taken two five-wicket hauls against New Zealand and is on the brink of another against Australia. His figures in this series did not flatter him, either. He bowled well at Lord's and Old Trafford without a hint of fortune.

Broad was comfortably the best of England's bowlers on the second day in Durham. Partly as a result of his height, but mostly as a result of his skill, he generated more movement than his colleagues and maintained an immaculate line and length just on or outside off stump.

David Warner was undone by a beauty that seamed in, Usman Khawaja by one that had him unsure whether to play or leave and Chris Rogers was beaten more often than a snare drum as Broad, swinging the ball away but seaming it in, plugged away on off stump. Rogers later praised it as "an unbelievable, beautiful" spell of bowling. Broad finished the day with four wickets, but could have had several more.

At present, he requires a bit of assistance from conditions to be truly effective. It is not so much that he does not have the skills to contribute on the flattest of pitches - he did so in the UAE and Sri Lanka, after all - it is more that he does not always seem to have the heart for it.

In India, for example, there was a perception - possibly an incorrect one - that he did not have the stomach for the tough job required of him on flat surfaces and as one of only two seamers. Instead of rolling up his sleeves and embracing the glamour-free task - and the no-excuses culture - Broad spoke of illness and injury and finally went home early. The impression given at the time was that the England management were underwhelemed.

Perhaps that was harsh, though. Perhaps the foot injury and food poisoning that Broad sustained really did contribute to his lacklustre performance and Broad's real problems, once again, were the unrealistic aspirations we have had for him.

He has already had, by most standards, a good career. And, if he can remain fit and perhaps invest in a little more time in the gym to ensure he has the strength required for the rigours of his role, there is no reason the best should not be ahead of him.

Broad's performance came in stark contrast to that of James Anderson. On the sort of pitch that Anderson must dream about, he appeared, for the second Test in succession, jaded and lacklustre. He did not bowl badly - he almost never does - but by the standards he has set, it was an oddly neutral performance.

It may be facile, but it is worth reflecting for a moment on what the reaction might have been had Graham Onions played ahead of Anderson in this Test and produced an identical performance. He may well have been jettisoned forever. Anderson will certainly - and correctly - not suffer such a fate, but all the signs indicate he requires a break. A strong case could be made to suggest he has played his last international cricket of the summer.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY cric_J on | August 11, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    If you would have asked me about 4 years ago what I thought of Stuart Broad, I would have answered it in two words - inconsistent and thus infuriating. But ever since that India series in 2011, Stuart Broad has kind of come of age. And so have my views about him.

    I have accepted the fact that with someone like him, one has to take the good with the bad, just as to milk a cow you have bear the kicks. We may find someone more consistent than him, but will that someone be as relentless as Broad is when on a roll. When he gets it right, even Jimmy doesn't run through sides as ruthlessly as Broady does !

    I have said this a lot of times that he is a match winner. When he gets one of his blasting 5-fors (which are usually 6-fors atleast), England usually win and I think the stats may back that. He gets his wickets in a flurry and makes it impossible for the batsmen coming in to settle down.

    The best part though is that these "magically unplayable" spells have become more frequent now.

  • POSTED BY pulkit10 on | August 11, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    When at his best, he is a pretty amazing cricketer. Not exactly a fan but it is hard to deny that he looks a terrific batsman for a #7 and is, at times, an incredible bowler. His problem is not that he doesn't have the talent, it's just his temperament and attitude towards the game. Compare him to Anderson, for example. When he came on the scene, Anderson was not even a fraction of the bowler he is today - he worked immensely hard, got dropped several times and came back harder each time. He essentially trained himself to become the terrific bowler he is today and the results speak for themselves. Broad is the opposite - has so much going for him (son of a match referee), height, strength etc but is too confident for his own good. His takes wickets when he bowls the correct length but he just forgets to do that so often it's remarkable. He needs to put the hardwork in if he wants to leave a legacy for himself. I doubt he will though.

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | August 14, 2013, 23:31 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster, please tell us if there is one Indian seamer who is even as good as 'half decent' Broad. Surely, India would kill to have a bowler like him in their test side. Yes, we know he is not Steyn or even Anderson but he is very good and, on his days, he is up there with the best. He had a poor start to his test career but since winter 2009, he has 148 wickets at 28.21 with a SR of 57.3. By no means great, but not half decent either. In fact, it is quiet good. Please look at players with an unbiased view and make your judgement.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | August 12, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    There are a couple of idiotic comments that Broad's test average is very similar to his FC average. First, it isn't: his test average is 31.56 and his FC average 28.77. 3 runs per wicket is a lot. Second, over half the FC games he has played have been tests. Therefore, his average in games other than tests must be something like 25 to bring his overall average down to 28.

    Having been drafted into the England side at age 21, and given the heavy test/international schedule now being played, Broad has had to learn to bowl as an international rather than as a county cricketer. Since test cricket is much harder than ordinary FC cricket, his average started very high and is only now getting down to near where it should be.

    In fact, if you look at his figures for the last 3 years, from the English Summer of 2010 until now, when he has been aged 24 to 27, you'll find that his test average has been 25.9. That's a pretty useful test average. It was age 21-24 that his average was high.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | August 11, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    I look at Broad as a utility cricketer. A half decent bowler and a half decent batsman. He will have days of his own from time to time but lacks in raw consistency. Still, it was nice to see him back at his best. England have relied a lot on Anderson lately and they need the other quicks to pitch in regularly. Broad can be quite frustrating to English supporters because he has horrible days most of the time. Consistency is key to success; an area Anderson has been so good at the last year or so. For England's sake, Broad has to put in similar performances to be truly reckoned a good bowler.

  • POSTED BY voma on | August 11, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    Stuart Broad , always seems to take plenty of Indian and Australian wickets in home conditions .I think hes been pretty unlucky in this series so far , bowling wise . I guess when he reaches 300 wickets/ 3000 runs , we will continue to read what a average player he is .

  • POSTED BY Mervo on | August 11, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    Interestingly he is still behind Mitchell Johnson in both runs and wickets....

  • POSTED BY on | August 11, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    As a NZ fan I would like to compare him to Chris Cairns, Cairns had injury problems and a falling out with Glen Turner. He took over 200 wickets at 29 (about the same as Anderson) and scored over 3500 runs at an average of 34. To be great Broad needs better figures, I certainly believe he is capably and as long as his body holds out, he certainly has the temperament and is just coming into his prime to achieve it. Of the top of my head Richard Hadlee averaged 22 with the ball and 28 with the bat for a bowling all rounder and there are plenty of other examples but Broad and another New Zealander Southee are works in progress and will be interesting to watch.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | August 11, 2013, 11:31 GMT

    I disagree with the opening sentence: it was VERY hard to understand why England persisted with Broad in many previous series, when he was extremely out of form and insisted on only bowling short; meanwhile the likes of Onions were in prime form. This Ashes series has been close to the best from Broad, however. The scorecards from the early games make ugly reading for Broad, but the reality is he has bowled very well every game and just been unlucky (until now) to not be amongst the wickets.

  • POSTED BY on | August 11, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    Fitness permitting, or attitude, permitting? When its Broad I think it is the latter of the two. No-one doubts he has an abundance of natural talent, he just doesn't always seem capable of harnessing it and when it goes wrong for him his head goes down and he is completely ineffective, one good performance in the series so far and no doubt English fans have fallen in love all over again but for mine he is another Mitch Johnson.

  • POSTED BY cric_J on | August 11, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    If you would have asked me about 4 years ago what I thought of Stuart Broad, I would have answered it in two words - inconsistent and thus infuriating. But ever since that India series in 2011, Stuart Broad has kind of come of age. And so have my views about him.

    I have accepted the fact that with someone like him, one has to take the good with the bad, just as to milk a cow you have bear the kicks. We may find someone more consistent than him, but will that someone be as relentless as Broad is when on a roll. When he gets it right, even Jimmy doesn't run through sides as ruthlessly as Broady does !

    I have said this a lot of times that he is a match winner. When he gets one of his blasting 5-fors (which are usually 6-fors atleast), England usually win and I think the stats may back that. He gets his wickets in a flurry and makes it impossible for the batsmen coming in to settle down.

    The best part though is that these "magically unplayable" spells have become more frequent now.

  • POSTED BY pulkit10 on | August 11, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    When at his best, he is a pretty amazing cricketer. Not exactly a fan but it is hard to deny that he looks a terrific batsman for a #7 and is, at times, an incredible bowler. His problem is not that he doesn't have the talent, it's just his temperament and attitude towards the game. Compare him to Anderson, for example. When he came on the scene, Anderson was not even a fraction of the bowler he is today - he worked immensely hard, got dropped several times and came back harder each time. He essentially trained himself to become the terrific bowler he is today and the results speak for themselves. Broad is the opposite - has so much going for him (son of a match referee), height, strength etc but is too confident for his own good. His takes wickets when he bowls the correct length but he just forgets to do that so often it's remarkable. He needs to put the hardwork in if he wants to leave a legacy for himself. I doubt he will though.

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | August 14, 2013, 23:31 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster, please tell us if there is one Indian seamer who is even as good as 'half decent' Broad. Surely, India would kill to have a bowler like him in their test side. Yes, we know he is not Steyn or even Anderson but he is very good and, on his days, he is up there with the best. He had a poor start to his test career but since winter 2009, he has 148 wickets at 28.21 with a SR of 57.3. By no means great, but not half decent either. In fact, it is quiet good. Please look at players with an unbiased view and make your judgement.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | August 12, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    There are a couple of idiotic comments that Broad's test average is very similar to his FC average. First, it isn't: his test average is 31.56 and his FC average 28.77. 3 runs per wicket is a lot. Second, over half the FC games he has played have been tests. Therefore, his average in games other than tests must be something like 25 to bring his overall average down to 28.

    Having been drafted into the England side at age 21, and given the heavy test/international schedule now being played, Broad has had to learn to bowl as an international rather than as a county cricketer. Since test cricket is much harder than ordinary FC cricket, his average started very high and is only now getting down to near where it should be.

    In fact, if you look at his figures for the last 3 years, from the English Summer of 2010 until now, when he has been aged 24 to 27, you'll find that his test average has been 25.9. That's a pretty useful test average. It was age 21-24 that his average was high.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | August 11, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    I look at Broad as a utility cricketer. A half decent bowler and a half decent batsman. He will have days of his own from time to time but lacks in raw consistency. Still, it was nice to see him back at his best. England have relied a lot on Anderson lately and they need the other quicks to pitch in regularly. Broad can be quite frustrating to English supporters because he has horrible days most of the time. Consistency is key to success; an area Anderson has been so good at the last year or so. For England's sake, Broad has to put in similar performances to be truly reckoned a good bowler.

  • POSTED BY voma on | August 11, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    Stuart Broad , always seems to take plenty of Indian and Australian wickets in home conditions .I think hes been pretty unlucky in this series so far , bowling wise . I guess when he reaches 300 wickets/ 3000 runs , we will continue to read what a average player he is .

  • POSTED BY Mervo on | August 11, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    Interestingly he is still behind Mitchell Johnson in both runs and wickets....

  • POSTED BY on | August 11, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    As a NZ fan I would like to compare him to Chris Cairns, Cairns had injury problems and a falling out with Glen Turner. He took over 200 wickets at 29 (about the same as Anderson) and scored over 3500 runs at an average of 34. To be great Broad needs better figures, I certainly believe he is capably and as long as his body holds out, he certainly has the temperament and is just coming into his prime to achieve it. Of the top of my head Richard Hadlee averaged 22 with the ball and 28 with the bat for a bowling all rounder and there are plenty of other examples but Broad and another New Zealander Southee are works in progress and will be interesting to watch.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | August 11, 2013, 11:31 GMT

    I disagree with the opening sentence: it was VERY hard to understand why England persisted with Broad in many previous series, when he was extremely out of form and insisted on only bowling short; meanwhile the likes of Onions were in prime form. This Ashes series has been close to the best from Broad, however. The scorecards from the early games make ugly reading for Broad, but the reality is he has bowled very well every game and just been unlucky (until now) to not be amongst the wickets.

  • POSTED BY on | August 11, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    Fitness permitting, or attitude, permitting? When its Broad I think it is the latter of the two. No-one doubts he has an abundance of natural talent, he just doesn't always seem capable of harnessing it and when it goes wrong for him his head goes down and he is completely ineffective, one good performance in the series so far and no doubt English fans have fallen in love all over again but for mine he is another Mitch Johnson.

  • POSTED BY Mitty2 on | August 11, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    @maximum6, great observation on the reasonings for Cook's captaincy, it certainly doesn't help when your predecessor is Andrew Strauss. Just for a matter of interest, Clarke says that his captaincy style is almost purely derived from the lessons he learnt by none other than Shane Warne.

    Dobell, we all know of your biased view (evidenced by saying that two of England's innings failures had nothing to do with the Aus bowlers and were instead due to complacency (lol), and of course, when Aus are dominating, no comment, but when we played like we did at Lord's, there's a ridiculing unfounded article solely focused on them and not England, but that doesn't change how ridiculous this article is. The ball was swinging unbelievably and the pitch, as it wasnt yesterday, was seaming much more and had more pace in it. Eng have had the best of both conditions and failed. Broad simply did what any half average bowler would do. He averages above 30 for a reason - just look at him in India/Aus.

  • POSTED BY gsingh7 on | August 11, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    His test average is very similar to his first class averages. It clearly shows he has lived upto his potential. he cant do much more , can he?? also the word greatness is thrown about after every little fruitful spell. greatness is not bestowed its achieved by hard work and consistency . likes of sachin dravid lara , wasim, prasanna achieved greatness not only by their hard works and talents but also qualities like sportsmanship. broad's non walking incident put a spanner in the works.still he has not even crossed jimmy in bowling heights ,he have to improve drastically.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | August 11, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    Stuart Broad brings out an uncomfortable & disparate set of responses & emotions in me. There are days like Day 2 in this Test when he looks a commanding presence, touched with (dare I say it?) greatness. He slipped swiftly into the most searching length & exploited the conditions immaculately. The more success he enjoyed, the more formidable he became. Jimmy operated well enough, but he lacked the brilliance of SB on this occasion: SB at his scintillating best. Then there are other days, hotter, offering little or no encouragement, the tough rough times. Where is SB? What is he doing? He's frustrated like the child denied sweets, angry with fielders for minor slips. What does he offer? Not much, his bowling scarely going through the motions, completing grumpy ragged shifts, somehow acting as if he's been insulted. Then he's off the field anyway. When SB can deliver when the going's against, as Jimmy can & does, that's the time when he & JA can be the men for all conditions, anywhere.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | August 11, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    Rather a lot of nonsense is talked about Freddie Flintoff as a bowler. He was, by his own admission, a batsman who bowled. He took 226 wickets in 79 tests (Broad has 205 and this is his 61st), his average was 32.78 (Broad 31.56), 5 wickets in an innings 3 times, 10 in a game 0 (Broad 8 + 1) and a best of 5/58 (Broad 7/44). By any measure except pure speed Broad is already a better bowler than Freddie ever was and Broad is only now approaching his peak.

    Consistency has been his issue. However, this year he has bowled pretty well and today he was by far England's best bowler. A few more days like this and the doubters will be silenced.

  • POSTED BY whoster on | August 11, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    Hopefully Broad is starting to turn the corner with his bowling. He did indeed bowl well at Lord's and Old Trafford without luck, and he bowled beautifully yesterday for a deserved reward. He has been infuriating in the past by producing the odd magic spell in between several ordinary performances, but he's strung some consistently good bowling together in this series. He needs to deliver more often, but the signs have been good this year. As a bowler, he'll never be in the same league as a McGrath, or as a Flintoff as an all-rounder, but it's now time to show that he can be a quality cricketer on a consistent basis.

  • POSTED BY Bonehead_maz on | August 11, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    @ "Posted by PeteB on (August 11, 2013, 1:44 GMT) Great to see the credit Broad gave Rogers and Rogers Broad."

    Very nice to see indeed, tough contest respect due. Thanks for mentioning !

  • POSTED BY on | August 11, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    Nothing in this article to disabuse anyone of the notion that Broad is an English Mitchell Johnson. In 10% of their spells they are the greatest bowlers in the world who can do anything. For the other 90% of the spells they are unable to take wickets or apply pressure allowing the opposition to seize control. The same 10%/90% rule applies to their batting. But Johnson's a walking joke and Broad is hailed as a hero. Broad = right place right time in a winning team.

  • POSTED BY Bonehead_maz on | August 11, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    Some people look born cricketers and aren't. Because to the born of uncricketing ability crowd, they seem a waste of space and they attract a lot of criticism.

    While there will always be a Rick McCosker or Rogers, there are many Broad's Watson's et all to balance it. Test cricket sides need BOTH types of players !

    Screaming talent is not and never was enough. It is however better than hoping for the never, from a talentless.

  • POSTED BY SriS on | August 11, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    His test average is very similar to his first class averages. It clearly shows he has lived upto his potential. It does not stop people from having unreasonable expectations, though.

  • POSTED BY humdrum on | August 11, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    For a pretender to the throne of Botham and Flintoff,the performances have been few and far between,when we consider he has already played 60 tests.It would be nice to have a country wise break up of his runs and wickets-both home and away- so that matters can be put in proper perspective.And,by the way,self-congratulations have never helped anybody.

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | August 11, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    Sir, this was a seaming (not swinging) paradise today. Any hit the deck bowler would have been difficult to face. If Onions and Finn were playing Australia with their below par batting line-up, Aussies would have struggled to make 150 on this wicket. Broad is a fine cricketer but a Flintoff-McGrath hybrid on potential? Give me a break. He is not half as good as Freddie. Flintoff beat the all-time great Australian Team in 2005 Ashes by being best English Cricketer by far and went to India and drew a series on his own against a very strong Indian batting line up with a very inexperienced English lineup. Broad went to India last year and played two tests, didn't pick a wicket and didn't look like picking a wicket against a much weaker (still quite good though) Indian batting line-up.

  • POSTED BY Biso on | August 11, 2013, 3:47 GMT

    Broad will never be great because his skills are limited. That is the reason for his inconsistency. On wickets that help him he might run through sides. Such wickets might be available to him in England and Newzealand. Generally, he will not find such wickets elsewhere. As a batsman, he has even more limitations. No point dreaming about his being a potential Mc Grath or even match Flintoff's batting abilities. BTW Flintoff was effective on his days, but no classy bat. I have not seen any class in his batting that Dobell seems to believe, is hidden.

  • POSTED BY humdrum on | August 11, 2013, 3:23 GMT

    Anderson was flat on a seamer's paradise and bresnan not threatening enough.Take away Broad's performance and you realise that,even with Swann at the other end,Aussies would probably have got away to a goodish lead.Mind you,they could still do it on sunday--after all,much depends on the bowling conditions. The new ball needs a effective bowler at the other end( to Broad) and it will be a tricky decision.

  • POSTED BY PeteB on | August 11, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    Great to see the credit Broad gave Rogers and Rogers Broad. Pity George Dobell can't find it in him to praise Australians as he does the English.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | August 10, 2013, 23:51 GMT

    Broad seems a decent enough player. He hasn't had all that much luck so far and has stuck to his task manfully. .. any player with 200 wkts and 2000 runs can obviously play a bit.

    One thing that should be mentioned is that this seems to be a helpful pitch. .. sure, he bowled with skill and venom and looked a million bucks, but I've got a feeling my grandmother would be a dangerous proposition on this deck. .. I'm not trying to take anything away from him, but it's a factor that shouldn't be ignored. .. Let's see how the Aussies bowl 2nd time around before we get too excited.

    I've noticed George Dobell can't write an article without combining the words "England" and "Great". .. I think there have been very few truly "great" players in the history of the game. Bradman was great. So were Sobers and Tendulkar. Marshall and McGrath were also great players. .. It's a very exclusive and very short list of players imo. .. The list of truly great teams is even shorter with 2 members.

  • POSTED BY gtr800 on | August 10, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    On a different note, England's over rate was appalling today, granted that they got called of because of bad light. But they only managed to bowl 74 overs! This is appalling for the viewers, are they soo hell bent on selfishly just aiming to draw the next 2 matches- without having any consideration for the viewer?

  • POSTED BY neo-galactico on | August 10, 2013, 20:30 GMT

    Draco Malfoy has one of his temper tantrums and in a feat of rage releases powerful spells and dumbfound the batsmen into submission. When in this mood Broad is irresistible, a match winner and a game changer. On such days one wonders how he's not a great of the game, but the next match he's ordinary again, you realize that for all his talent Broad isn't very consistent but then again he's still 27 (although it feels older than that) perhaps he'll crack consistency and become the Flintoff-McGrath hybrid some say he's destined to be (probably not though).

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | August 10, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    With further reference to Cook's captaincy I would say this in his defence. I do not know whether he has captained too many teams in his life and I realised that I was criticising a completely innocent man. Obviously if one has not learnt or been taught to do something how on earth can one be expected to know how to do it. This sort of knowledge cannot be acquired without some sort of prior learning and is not innate. So for him it is just a matter of trial and error. Further there is no absolute right or wrong.

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | August 10, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    Broad was certainly dazzling today and should probably have had a couple more wickets as there were times he was unplayable. The comments about Broad at Lords and Old Trafford are true, I think as he always seemed to be bolwling a good line but without luck. I do think Cook was wrong to remove him after 7 overs in the morning-another 1 or 2 may have picked up another scalp. Anderson bowled Ok but there is no sense of his dominance at present-perhaps getting over 300 wickets has all been too much, though God knows why. The other explanation may be that the 13 over spell in Nottingham was too much. I do not know if Swann was just not ready to bowl when he did but the sight of Trott was strange and Swann did bowl beautifully when he did get the ball. As captain I think cook could take a few leaves out of Clarke's book, who captains with purpose flair and aggression always trying to make things happen. The manual of conservative captaincy needs burning to a cinder.

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | August 10, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    Broad was certainly dazzling today and should probably have had a couple more wickets as there were times he was unplayable. The comments about Broad at Lords and Old Trafford are true, I think as he always seemed to be bolwling a good line but without luck. I do think Cook was wrong to remove him after 7 overs in the morning-another 1 or 2 may have picked up another scalp. Anderson bowled Ok but there is no sense of his dominance at present-perhaps getting over 300 wickets has all been too much, though God knows why. The other explanation may be that the 13 over spell in Nottingham was too much. I do not know if Swann was just not ready to bowl when he did but the sight of Trott was strange and Swann did bowl beautifully when he did get the ball. As captain I think cook could take a few leaves out of Clarke's book, who captains with purpose flair and aggression always trying to make things happen. The manual of conservative captaincy needs burning to a cinder.

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | August 10, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    With further reference to Cook's captaincy I would say this in his defence. I do not know whether he has captained too many teams in his life and I realised that I was criticising a completely innocent man. Obviously if one has not learnt or been taught to do something how on earth can one be expected to know how to do it. This sort of knowledge cannot be acquired without some sort of prior learning and is not innate. So for him it is just a matter of trial and error. Further there is no absolute right or wrong.

  • POSTED BY neo-galactico on | August 10, 2013, 20:30 GMT

    Draco Malfoy has one of his temper tantrums and in a feat of rage releases powerful spells and dumbfound the batsmen into submission. When in this mood Broad is irresistible, a match winner and a game changer. On such days one wonders how he's not a great of the game, but the next match he's ordinary again, you realize that for all his talent Broad isn't very consistent but then again he's still 27 (although it feels older than that) perhaps he'll crack consistency and become the Flintoff-McGrath hybrid some say he's destined to be (probably not though).

  • POSTED BY gtr800 on | August 10, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    On a different note, England's over rate was appalling today, granted that they got called of because of bad light. But they only managed to bowl 74 overs! This is appalling for the viewers, are they soo hell bent on selfishly just aiming to draw the next 2 matches- without having any consideration for the viewer?

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | August 10, 2013, 23:51 GMT

    Broad seems a decent enough player. He hasn't had all that much luck so far and has stuck to his task manfully. .. any player with 200 wkts and 2000 runs can obviously play a bit.

    One thing that should be mentioned is that this seems to be a helpful pitch. .. sure, he bowled with skill and venom and looked a million bucks, but I've got a feeling my grandmother would be a dangerous proposition on this deck. .. I'm not trying to take anything away from him, but it's a factor that shouldn't be ignored. .. Let's see how the Aussies bowl 2nd time around before we get too excited.

    I've noticed George Dobell can't write an article without combining the words "England" and "Great". .. I think there have been very few truly "great" players in the history of the game. Bradman was great. So were Sobers and Tendulkar. Marshall and McGrath were also great players. .. It's a very exclusive and very short list of players imo. .. The list of truly great teams is even shorter with 2 members.

  • POSTED BY PeteB on | August 11, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    Great to see the credit Broad gave Rogers and Rogers Broad. Pity George Dobell can't find it in him to praise Australians as he does the English.

  • POSTED BY humdrum on | August 11, 2013, 3:23 GMT

    Anderson was flat on a seamer's paradise and bresnan not threatening enough.Take away Broad's performance and you realise that,even with Swann at the other end,Aussies would probably have got away to a goodish lead.Mind you,they could still do it on sunday--after all,much depends on the bowling conditions. The new ball needs a effective bowler at the other end( to Broad) and it will be a tricky decision.

  • POSTED BY Biso on | August 11, 2013, 3:47 GMT

    Broad will never be great because his skills are limited. That is the reason for his inconsistency. On wickets that help him he might run through sides. Such wickets might be available to him in England and Newzealand. Generally, he will not find such wickets elsewhere. As a batsman, he has even more limitations. No point dreaming about his being a potential Mc Grath or even match Flintoff's batting abilities. BTW Flintoff was effective on his days, but no classy bat. I have not seen any class in his batting that Dobell seems to believe, is hidden.

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | August 11, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    Sir, this was a seaming (not swinging) paradise today. Any hit the deck bowler would have been difficult to face. If Onions and Finn were playing Australia with their below par batting line-up, Aussies would have struggled to make 150 on this wicket. Broad is a fine cricketer but a Flintoff-McGrath hybrid on potential? Give me a break. He is not half as good as Freddie. Flintoff beat the all-time great Australian Team in 2005 Ashes by being best English Cricketer by far and went to India and drew a series on his own against a very strong Indian batting line up with a very inexperienced English lineup. Broad went to India last year and played two tests, didn't pick a wicket and didn't look like picking a wicket against a much weaker (still quite good though) Indian batting line-up.

  • POSTED BY humdrum on | August 11, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    For a pretender to the throne of Botham and Flintoff,the performances have been few and far between,when we consider he has already played 60 tests.It would be nice to have a country wise break up of his runs and wickets-both home and away- so that matters can be put in proper perspective.And,by the way,self-congratulations have never helped anybody.