England v Australia, 4th Investec Test, Chester-le-Street, 4th day August 12, 2013

Broad responds to call to 'spice it up'

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Stuart Broad hailed a "special era" in English cricket after bowling England to a third successive Ashes series victory.

Broad, bowling with impressive pace and skill, claimed 11 wickets in the match as England went 3-0 up in the series at the end of the fourth Investec Test. If England win at The Oval, they will become the first England side to win four Tests in an Ashes series at home.

For much of the fourth day of the Durham Test, it seemed Australia might pull-off a remarkable victory. Set 299 to win, Australia cruised to 109 without loss in the afternoon before England captain, Alastair Cook, called upon Broad to "spice it up a bit."

Broad immediately appeared to find another gear and, troubling all the batsmen with his pace and reverse swing, claimed five wickets for 20 runs in 40 balls as Australia lost nine wickets in the final session of the day.

It left Broad, who finished with Test best figures of 11 for 121 in the match, reflecting on a "special" day for English cricket and a series that has been far more closely contested than the score line indicates.

"It was a very special afternoon," Broad said. "In this game, pretty much for each hour, it could have gone either way. Certainly at 40 for 3 in our second innings we were staring down the barrel a bit. Australia have shown in this series what a fighting side they are.

"We gathered ourselves at tea with Australia having won that session without doubt. Our bowlers were too caught up in hitting the deck hard which was a little too far back of a length. But once we got the ball fuller we got the ball to move and we were massively in the game.

"The great thing about this side is we have a lot of experience in the changing room. There are one or two in our dressing room who could become the leading ever [in terms of series wins for England] in the Ashes, which is a special era to play in.

"The guys put their heads together calmly and decided the best way forward. Alastair Cook was clear what he wanted the bowlers to do. We needed to make the Aussies play off the front foot a little bit more.

"Despite the openers beginning well it was a very hard wicket to start on and we always had in the back of our minds that with 300 on the board we can put a lot of pressure on the new batsmen.

"Once we got some early wickets after tea the bowlers got their tails up and we put the new batsmen under pressure. The crowd gave us a huge lift. It was a special moment when we took that final wicket."

Cook agreed that England had not managed to get things quite right with the ball in the first part of Australia's second innings, but was lost for words to describe Broad's match-winning spell.

"If we are totally honest, we didn't quite get it right with the ball," Cook said. "The pitch behaved a little better than we thought it would. This morning the new ball seemed to jag around a bit more for Australia and a few balls kept low. It didn't do that for us and maybe it took us a while to regroup. But fair play to Chris Rogers and David Warner: they batted very well.

"It was a fine spell of bowling from Broad. That's probably not the right adjective either. As a captain and knowing how important how that session was, well, if we lost that session we would have been struggling.

"Broady knew that and the lads knew that. He really charged in. When everything clicks and he is bowling in the high 80s with the control he has, it is incredibly hard to bat against. I said that against New Zealand when he got that seven-for at Lord's.

"Here was more important in terms of the situation of the game and in the Ashes. Words can't justify how good a spell of bowling that was. We also have to recognise the job Tim Bresnan did at the other end. We talk about bowling in partnerships but that end into the wind wasn't doing that much. He really built the pressure which was a huge credit to him. We built an incredible amount of pressure with a lot of good bowling."

The key moment came after a drinks break when Broad produced a brute of a delivery that left Michael Clarke off the pitch and hit the top of off stump. Losing their best batsman seemed to rock Australia's confidence and their middle-order were brushed aside as England's superior experience and confidence became more apparent.

"We went hard at Clarke and that seemed to work," Cook said. "We spiced it up. "As a side in these last 12 months, we have come through tough situations well. And when you have learned how not to get beaten, even when you are up against it, we have the players to take the game by the scruff of the neck

"When you have that experience as a group of players, it gives me as a captain a load of confidence. I can only praise our side, the fielders, everyone who played their part in making sure there was no let up, no partnership that could develop through a mis-field or anything like that.

"We'll enjoy what is a very special day and one that I'm going to look back on with huge fondness.

"We are going to get greedy and try and repeat that at The Oval. But we can think about that with sore heads tomorrow."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 5wombats on August 14, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    I was bushwalking/camping in southern Queensland rainforests at the time and had the greatest difficulty following the game. No TV where I was! Got an occasional 3G signal on one bar on my friends iPad. Didn't have the bandwidth for Test Match Special so couldn't listen. Managed to follow it through to conclusion on cricinfo commentary at a silly time in the morning. At Tea I nearly gave it up but I thought for sure there will be a twist and that Broad after his first dig exploits might be in the zone so I stayed up. So it proved.... Well done cricinfo guys on commentary - you managed to brilliantly convey the tension through words. I've experienced many England Ashes series victories over the years via either radio or TV - but never through just words, so that's a first. It was well worth staying up for! Thanks for that. As for Broad - well, he repaid my faith. Superb Job! And btw Lamington National Park is superb too!!!

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 13, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    That was a staggering piece of bowling by Broad with Bresnan in support. Australia were cruising it past the 1/2 way mark-though 299 is a always a very difficult stretch. Cook had to have the nous to put on Bresnan because that was the Wicket which counted. But Broad was truly transcendant in that spell,slightly like Willis at Headingley in'81. he is getting quite good at putting the skids under batting side-Lords v NZ was a perfect precursor to this. Broad looked pretty happy from his first ball of the match-there was a look of joy when he realised he was making the ball do things off the wicket and 11 wickets was a fair outcome. Watching 6'8" thundering down on you must be fairly daunting for the batsman.

  • Big_Chikka on August 13, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    i may not be a broad fan, but plz ppl don't hate on him, he was in excellent form, you don't get 11 in game with bad umpiring decisions. well deserved success, professional and at times around 90mph.not bad if you call yourself a bowler who can bat.

  • crockit on August 13, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    Bhati - why exactly does Broad remind you of Cork other than the fact that they are right arm pacemen who bat a bit and are a bit feisty? Broad is much taller, bowls chest forward rather than having a Cork style side on action and bowls seam, cut and a bit of swing whereas cork was renowned mostly for swing and was typically a few mph slower. Closer parallels bowling wise would be the likes of Willis and Walsh.

    When Broad started in tests I got laughed at on BBC forums for predicting that if he stayed fit most of the time would be able to get 5000 runs and 400 wickets, would bowl high 80s and have batting average potentially higher than bowling (mark of a top class test allrounder). T Yet all these predictions look quite reasonable now, albeit that he probably needs to continue rehabilitating his batting.

  • McCricket_ on August 13, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    Well done England, and well played. Contrary to half of the reports decrying Australia's lack of belief (what rubbish) or inability to win, I'd prefer to recognise the superlative efforts of Broad in both innings. I should also recognise England's fightback just when we all thought they were gone. As an Aussie, I felt somehow robbed last night between 2-3am, but on reflection, we didn't lose the game because we didn't believe -- England ripped the game out of our hands on the back of an almost unplayable spell of bowling. Sure, Bresnan was good. Sure, the LBWs could have gone either way without complaint, but Broad had me counting down every over, praying for his spell to end because he was in the zone & red hot.

    Unfortunately, Australia were done for long before his spell ended, and fittingly, Broad was the man to bowl the last ball. If I have to lose, I'd prefer to lose like this having been on top for much of the match, than lose like Lords when stupid rash shots were our undoing

  • Munkeymomo on August 13, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    @crocket: You're right there (although I wouldn't put Warner in). Rogers, Cook , KP, Clarke, Bell, Smith, Haddin, Harris, Swann, Siddle, Jimmy. That was my team before this game, 6 Aussies. Now you could make a case for Broad and Warner, but it probably wouldn't shift the balance much.

  • crockit on August 13, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    Steyn is the best but its not outrageous to claim Jimmy is the most skilful given his ability to swing the ball both ways with excellent disguise. True he has gone missing for a couple of games but that might be down to being knackered. I would rest him for 5th test - there is not much to lose by doing so and a lot to gain in terms of refreshing him and giving say Tremlett an opportunity.

    Its a very odd series. Its intriguing that if you have a composite team based on quality / long term record only 4 Aussies would have a case to be in (Rogers, Clarke, Siddle and Harris). Yet in terms of record this summer it would be 6 or 7 (add Warner, Haddin and even Watson). Trott, Cook and Prior have been stalwarts in the last few years making it remarkable that England are 3-0 up in spite of them being woefully short of form. England have had a bit of luck and turned the tide at crucial points.

  • CricketMaan on August 13, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    OH Dear as an Indian fan I fear more for the new Team India when they play 5 Tests next season. I wonder if the crowds would even come and watch them play for it could all be very one sided if Board, Anderson, Bres all keep up thier form and fitness. And then add Bell, Cook, KP who relish Indian bowling. I haven't even mentioned Swan in those first lines. All I ask is no 5-0 next summer!

  • LALITHKURUWITA on August 13, 2013, 9:02 GMT

    I think English team is very strong as a team. Somebody will put up the hand and play very well to win. Aussies are not playing as a team. Looking forward to final test.

  • oval77 on August 13, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    @gregg22. It's the media-driven nature of the game that such statements will be made and interpreted and misinterpreted. Trick is not to get too upset by it. We in England all enjoy Cricket Australia's regular announcements that the latest kid they've found is the next world-beater. Bird "the new McGrath", Starc "could be the fastest ever", Lyon "the new Warne" (admittedly that one's from a few years back), and the one that's kept me chuckling all these years, Philip "will one day threaten Bradman's record" Hughes. The serious point is, the players have no control over these comparisons. They don't make them and they probably wince when others do. So let's just just judge them on their performance. Sure, Jimmy's had a couple of below-par games, but let's not forget, three weeks ago many Australian posters were sniping at the fact that Eng were overreliant on his skills.