Stuart Broad has praised England’s “relentless” attack after the hosts took control of the second Test on day two.
West Indies trail by 232 after being picked off bit-by-bit for 137 for six. The follow-on target is 33 away, but on the evidence of this pitch and the way a pace cartel of Broad, James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes have been using it suggests the four wickets could easily come sooner.
Each quick provided a different challenge: Broad and Anderson their usual mix of nagging lengths and punchlines; Archer’s extra pace and Woakes’ ability to get that extra nip off the seam. And no opposition batsman was able to provide enough resistance to force Joe Root to turn to off-spinner Dom Bess.
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“I think we all are slightly different bowlers,” lauded Broad. “I think we all release from slightly different places on the crease which means that every time a different bowler comes on a batsman has to make little adjustments. We have a saying between the bowling unit of control the run rate control the game a little bit because if you don’t leak easy boundaries, if you go wicket-to-wicket, you’re in the game still. Every bowler on that pitch has got the ability to control the run rate and a natural wicket-taker.”
That played out with West Indies needing 47.1 overs to amass their 137. England, by contrast, filled the second hour with runs courtesy of a devastating cameo from Broad, whose 62 off 45 lifted the hosts to 369 all out at lunch after they lost four wickets in the space of 22 deliveries.
It was followed by Broad opening the innings with Anderson – something England fans had got very accustomed to but have only seen three times in the last 15 Tests. They both finished the day with two for 17 from their 10 respective overs.
Those fans were buoyed by the sight of them together again, especially the manner of their four wickets which suggested there’s plenty left in them as a pairing and individuals. Broad is inclined to agree,
“I don’t ever walk on the field feeling ‘Is this the last time we will play together’ because both of us have got a burning desire keep going and keep winning Test matches for England, which is a great feeling. I certainly get the feeling when one of us goes each other will be one of the first to know and there’s certainly been no talk of that. Jimmy’s record has arguably been getting better as has mine. So let’s keep striking while the iron’s hot.”
With the series level 1-1 and bad weather around, England’s need to push for victory to reclaim the Wisden Trophy. As holders, West Indies will keep it if the series ends in a tie.
Thus, getting West Indies to bat again right after their first innings is top of the agenda. “The number one aim is to bowl Windies out so we have option to enforce the follow-on. If we can get them in first half and a half we’d still have four relatively fresh seamers.”
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