Stuart Broad backed England’s troubled captain Alastair Cook to turn around his poor form – and pleaded with groundsmen all over the country to help the team do the same.
The pressure on Cook shows no sign of easing after he was bowled off his thigh pad by India seamer Mohammed Shami for just five. It completed a miserable afternoon for Cook, who had watched frustrated as the tourists’ last-wicket pair of Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had compiled a record 111 stand to take India from 346 for 9 to 457 all out.
Cook will have been particularly disappointed to be dismissed on a pitch so docile it bears more resemblance to Nagpur than Nottingham. While the batsmen should be able to score runs on it, the strip is not much fun for bowlers like Broad, who sent down 33 overs in India’s first innings. His new-ball partner, Jimmy Anderson, delivered 38.
“Trent Bridge is renowned for exciting cricket but we haven’t seen a lot of it in this Test,” said Broad, whose home ground this is. “This is not what England would have asked for or what Trent Bridge would have hoped for.
“Hopefully other grounds won’t follow suit this summer. The best thing is that Trent Bridge has admitted their mistake and apologised for the mistake.
“You come here to see nicks carry, dropped catches, good runs, exciting shots and quick bowling. They will be disappointed, as they have said. It’s not been ideal.
“Most Indian wickets are faster than this. You want the wicket to be flat but you also want nicks to carry and that hasn’t happened here.”
Cook’s latest failure is another source of worry for an England side who have not won a Test since they beat Australia at Durham to clinch the Ashes last August.
The captain’s performance in the field in this match has been a clear improvement on those he produced in the Test series against Sri Lanka earlier in the summer, but as long as he is struggling for runs, the questions will always remain.
Such failures can weigh heavily on a captain but Broad insisted Cook had been chipper in the pavilion soon after he was dismissed.
The 28-year-old added: “He was fine, chatting away and chirpy. But it’s one of those things – when you’re in a rut, things go against you. I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen the ball cannon off the thigh pad and on to the stumps.
“He is in one of those places at the minute but it will turn. All it takes for the momentum to turn is to play a cover drive for four or have someone drop a catch. But if you get out in the way he did, there is not a lot you can do.
“I’m sure he’d have been more annoyed if he’d been caught at extra-cover or nicked one to the slips. I’m sure he’s looking forward to batting in the second innings.
“India’s last-wicket partnership was a bit frustrating but they played very well, and once the ball is 50 overs old, it becomes very soft and it does very little. When you look at it another way, that was our best session of the game in terms of wickets taken. We didn’t get too down on ourselves and just kept going. Hopefully we can bat big on the third and fourth days and put pressure on them.”
Meanwhile, Kumar increased the embarrassment for Nottinghamshire by admitting conditions were far more familiar than what he had anticipated.
Batting at No 9, Kumar scored 58 on his first Test innings in England as part of that record partnership with Shami. He said: “It’s like an Indian wicket, so I didn’t find it too hard to bat on. Had it been more like a normal English pitch, I would have found it more difficult. You have to be very patient as bowlers on here because the wicket is slow and it is getting slower and slower.”