Stuart Broad had the perfect dress rehearsal for bowling for England at Edgbaston.
And, having produced a top-notch performance a fortnight or so ago while playing County Championship cricket in Birmingham, there was little chance of him forgetting his lines yesterday.
Broad finished with 11 wickets, including eight in the second innings, as Nottinghamshire trounced Warwickshire. But he must have been even happier to share star billing with Jimmy Anderson as England took control of the second Test against Pakistan.
"I think the pitch played pretty similar to the one the other week," said Broad, who walked away with four for 38 yesterday. "My confidence was pretty high because of the Warwickshire game and it was good that I was able to share what I had seen with the other bowlers. You could see that it was hard to score runs and we showed good discipline to build up the pressure."
Broad confirmed that England had been looking to bat first themselves. "But when there is cloud about and the conditions are like that, as a bowling unit you are probably hoping to lose the toss," he said. "We talked about not chasing wickets but trying to bowl maidens, and that was the key thing.
"I think the fact that Pakistan had a 24-ball and a 32-ball duck [Imran Farhat and Azhar Ali] speaks volumes about the way we were able to build pressure."
From the sidelines, it is starting to look a little too easy for England's bowlers with Pakistan crumbling against the swinging and seaming ball. But Broad brushed aside that suggestion last night – and also knocked back any thoughts that even home supporters might soon lose interest in a one-sided series.
"I would hope people would want to see England win and not lose interest if the team was dominating," he said. "I'm sure Australia's fans did not lose interest when their team was winning comprehensively in the Nineties."
England are already 40 runs ahead in this Test. But Pakistan, following on where they left off in Nottingham, put down three clear catches yesterday - and hopes of a big lead could depend on Kevin Pietersen emerging from his recent slump. "He had the most disciplined net I've seen from him before this Test and I'm sure runs are just around the corner," said Broad.
As for Pakistan, they are right up against it once more. "We have to clear up our own mess," agreed captain Saman Butt. "I think this pitch will not change. Given these conditions I think the ball will keep swinging so the idea was to put some runs on the board, but unfortunately things didn't go the way we wanted."Reuse content