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News

'The most outrageous hour I've seen in Test cricket' - Stuart Broad

Veteran seamer says new coach McCullum has made an impact already

Alan Gardner
Alan Gardner
15-Jun-2022
Stuart Broad celebrates dismissing Matt Henry, England vs New Zealand, 2nd Test, Nottingham, 4th day, June 13, 2022

Stuart Broad celebrates a wicket  •  Getty Images

Brendon McCullum urged England to "attack the danger" during their run chase in Nottingham, with the result being what Stuart Broad called "the most outrageous hour I've seen in Test cricket".
Broad was padded up and watching on from the dressing room at Trent Bridge as Jonny Bairstow blew the doors off England's chase of 299, hitting 93 off 44 balls after tea on the final day. Comparing the game to Headingley 2019, when Ben Stokes guided England to victory after a 76-run partnership for the final wicket, Broad said the win over New Zealand had been just as astounding.
"Baz's team talk was very much 'let's attack the danger, let's run towards the danger' and every part of your mind is going for this win," he said. "Whoever is to come, the changing room has full belief that you can do your job to get the win. So it was never really a case of, if we lose one we might shut up shop. It was always we're going to win. And if it doesn't work, don't worry about it, but we're going to go for the win.
"But I didn't quite expect to see what I saw from Jonny. It was the most outrageous hour I've seen in Test cricket from a partnership. Obviously Headingley had incredible nerves. I felt sick watching that tight thing with Leach and Stokesy. But that was just exhilarating, astonishing. Trent Bridge giving out free tickets, I'm sure there were people in this ground who have never watched Test cricket before. How inspiring is that?
"At Headingley, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife and it felt very nerve-wracking, you were sick with seeing what's coming. Whereas that was just about shouting every time a boundary happened. I saw a stat that showed in nine overs they scored 102 after tea. It wasn't as if Baz said 'go and whack it, go and slog it'. It was just play with the mindset that we're going to chase these runs down. And Jonny just got hold of a few pull shots that got him going. That striking was… only a handful of players in the world can do that. Johnny is obviously in that group."
Broad said that "there's no doubt Baz has had an impact already", with various members of the team having spoken already about the mantra of relentless positivity that has accompanied McCullum's arrival as Test coach.
"He was absolutely buzzing that we got 380 on day three," Broad said. "It didn't matter how many wickets, it was the run rate. How good is that? 380 in a day, well batted lads. It's not just praising guys who get a hundred, it's tiny little things, bits of fielding, momentum changes in the game. He will bring attention to that.
"He looks like a guy who has a cricket brain that is working all the time. He is thinking how we can change the game. That doesn't mean he's saying 'what about this or that' every minute. I feel like he's got an energy of not letting the game sit, where can we manoeuvre it to.
"At tea today, the way he spoke two-three minutes before the bell, he didn't say I'd prefer to lose than draw, but it was that mindset - it was going for a win at all costs. I want to win, find your way to do that. You have my full backing, Stokes' full backing to go get the win."
The effect has been clear on both batting and bowling. England scored at a rate of 4.7 runs per over during the Trent Bridge Test, and continued to set attacking fields as New Zealand made 553 in their first innings. Broad struggled somewhat, with figures of 2 for 107, but saw chances go down off Henry Nicholls and Tom Blundell.
"I didn't bowl that well in the first innings, but it felt like any mistake I made on length and line it went for four," he said. "I felt like it got even quicker as the game went on. Could we have bowled dry? Potentially, but that is a different day if we snaffle a couple of catches. [Daryl] Mitchell went down, Blundell, Nicholls. The mindset is, how do we get more fielders in wicket-taking positions rather than protection, which gives us a better chance of bowling them out?"
In the second innings, Broad helped bring about crucial breakthroughs. On the fourth evening, Blundell was held by Stokes in a catching position at backward square leg to end another potentially pivotal fifth-wicket stand; then on day five, with New Zealand edging further in front, Broad's short ball again did the trick as a change to the field tempted Matt Henry into hooking and opened up the game.
"How it's affected me is that rather than having the bloke 20 yards further back to stop the four, it's if he strikes it well and he's 20 yards in, he could catch it," Broad said. "It's a tiny little mindset change, but it's about getting wickets, not stopping boundaries.
"My role as a bowler [on day four] was how could we take 10 wickets here and get us over the line. Although it wasn't the classical seven - it's not like we guided them out with skill and pressure, we got seven wickets through the momentum of the game really. And once we got a sniff… I came this morning feeling very relaxed. I felt like we were going to win the game."

Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick