After producing one of the best Test bowling performances of his career, Stuart Broad insisted he would be fit for next year’s World Cup despite confirming that he needs to have a knee operation this summer.
Broad took 6 for 25, his third-best figures in Test cricket and the best by an England bowler at home to India since Fred Trueman collected 8 for 31 at this ground in 1952. Jimmy Anderson also took 3 for 46 to bowl out India for 152 and leave the home side in charge of the fourth Investec Test.
Broad is likely to have the surgery on his right knee after the conclusion of this series, with the final Test at The Oval starting next Friday. “I should be fine for the World Cup [which starts next February]. The recovery period is about three to three-and-a-half months,” he said.
“It’s a really good opportunity for me to get the knee sorted but also [to] use it as a strength and conditioning period because the schedule for 2015 has been released and it looks pretty busy.
“I will have to be as fit as I possibly can going into that period. I’ll speak to the surgeon at the end of The Oval Test and we will see what he decides.”
England ended the day at Old Trafford 113 for 3, just 39 runs adrift of India and well placed to build a first-innings lead that should give them a platform to win this game and take a 2-1 lead in the series.
India captain M S Dhoni chose to bat after winning the toss but was regretting his decision almost immediately when the tourists were 8 for 4. Dhoni’s 71 enabled them to make a partial recovery but against Broad and Anderson in top form, there was no contest, and India’s innings ended with a world-record-equalling six ducks on the scorecard.
Broad’s haul enabled him to move past Graeme Swann and into sixth place on the list of England’s leading wicket-takers in Tests. At the end of India’s innings, Broad’s career Test tally stood at 261 wickets.
“It felt as though we were going to get a wicket with every ball,” Broad said. “We got lucky with the overhead conditions but not with the skills we showed. We challenged the front foot of the batsman with nearly every delivery and we got the rewards when the edges carried.
“I can’t remember playing a Test before where we have knocked over the top order like that. Jimmy Anderson had it on a string. He was bowling beautifully, moving the ball both ways, and he looked in great rhythm.
“He is feeling really fit and benefiting from the time off he had after the Ashes tour last winter. All eyes are on him now as he needs only 10 more wickets to go pass Sir Ian Botham’s total [of 383 wickets] and become England’s all-time leading wicket-taker in Tests.
“I want to be around when he becomes the first England bowler to reach 400 Test wickets. Who knows, he might even get to 500.”
Ravichandran Ashwin, making his first appearance of the series, revealed India were trying to take inspiration from a remarkable match played several years ago in their principal domestic competition. In the 2006-07 Ranji Trophy Super League, Mumbai were reduced to 0 for 5 in the semi-final but recovered to win before taking the trophy in the final.
“There have been such situations before and that is where our motivation comes from,” Ashwin said.
He also caused some mirth with his explanation for Dhoni’s impromptu departures from the field during his innings. Ashwin said his captain had “rehydrated too much last night”, which elicited a few puzzled glances from those present.
As Dhoni does not drink alcohol, there was no suggestion from Ashwin that he had consumed anything especially potent. Yet India will still be feeling hangovers when they awake in the morning after perhaps their worst day of the series.
Shot, ball and moment of the day
Shot of the day
As the conditions eased, England’s most handsome batsman took charge. Ravichandran Ashwin was bowling his first Test over of the summer. Ian Bell advanced stealthily down the pitch to the fourth ball and struck it sweetly straight for six. Who needs brute force?
Ball of the day
In Southampton last week, Jimmy Anderson bowled with skill to Ravi Jadeja, three balls going across him and then producing a late inswinger to ensnare him lbw. Today, he repeated this trick. This time two went away and one came snaking back to foil Jadeja again.
Moment of the day
The dismissal of Pankaj Singh, already a cult hero in just his second Test match for India, by Stuart Broad brought the sixth duck of their first innings. That feat had happened only three times before in Tests, and had never occurred against England.
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