England's Stuart Broad can never stand accused of not putting in a shift for his county, even though his first-class career with Nottinghamshire has amounted to only six Championship appearances in three seasons.
Broad has contributed 42 wickets to those six matches, culminating in a career-best 8 for 52 here yesterday as feeble Warwickshire were bowled out for 100 to set up a 10-wicket win for Nottinghamshire one hour after lunch on the third day, stepping up the pressure on First Division leaders Yorkshire.
It was by no means the best or quickest he has bowled but Warwickshire's confidence is on the floor after eight defeats and Broad had the honesty to admit there were "a few soft dismissals" as one batsman after another obligingly followed his away swingers to give catching practice to Nottinghamshire's six-man cordon of slips, gullies and backward point.
Ian Westwood, Jonathan Trott, Darren Maddy, Tim Ambrose and Chris Woakes went by that route. The exceptions were Jim Troughton, who lost his middle stump, Ant Botha, who miscued to mid-on, and Rikki Clarke, trapped lbw first ball. The performance puts Broad in good shape for his return to Test cricket at his home ground Trent Bridge where England's series against Pakistan opens next week. Having missed the two home Tests against Bangladesh, Broad is in wicket-taking form and will benefit from having put his body through some overs.
"I felt in nice rhythm and since my break I've come back feeling strong and the ball has been coming out really well," he said. "There were a few nice balls in there today, a few soft dismissals as well but I'm a great believer that you earn your luck. Swanny [Graeme Swann] said from second slip that it was the most he'd seen me swing the ball for a couple of years. It did feel like my wrist was in a good position.
"It was a good workout ahead of the first Test. I got 20 overs in during the first innings and that hit me quite hard, not having done a full 90 overs in the field since April, but I came back and bowled a 14-over spell today and it is good to know I can go into a Test match with overs in my legs."
Nottinghamshire had lost eight wickets in overtaking Warwickshire's first innings total of 313 in the face of a decent effort by the home attack but Notts seized the initiative during a lax final hour on Wednesday and the additional runs scored yesterday morning, as Mark Wagh stretched his overnight 127 to 139 before slicing to point, were enough to fill the home batsmen with self-doubt. They had, after all, been dismissed for 140 or fewer on six previous occasions. By the seventh over they were 9 for 3, by the ninth 18 for 5 and by the 17th, as Broad claimed his seventh victim, 33 for 7, threatening to suffer their biggest failure since they were last out for fewer than 50, almost 30 years ago.
They avoided that fate as Neil Carter added 27 to his first-innings 99 not out and Ambrose 22, but 100 was their joint lowest score of the season, leaving Nottinghamshire needing only 25 to win, which they knocked off in just 18 deliveries.
Warwickshire coach Ashley Giles pulled no punches in his analysis. "Broad did well but it wasn't fantastic bowling," he said. "Challenging, but nothing more. We just were not good enough. It was embarrassing."Reuse content