Wickets put Broad back on straight and narrow

 

Lord's

Enforcer has a nice, macho ring to it, for sure. But wicket-taker means a whole lot more when it comes to winning Test matches and keeping your place in a team determined to become the world's best. If Stuart Broad did not realise that before, he must do so now after striking four times against India yesterday.



Plenty would have dropped England's Twenty20 captain for the start of this series, and with the extremely capable Tim Bresnan in the squad the idea presumably crossed the minds of captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower.

But by the time Strauss and Co assembled at Lord's last Tuesday all the signals from the home camp suggested their patience with Broad was not yet exhausted. Instead, Flower spelled out, in public, what he wanted from his young fast bowler and, perhaps even more important, what he no longer wished to see and hear.

"Broad has pace and bounce and he is a great competitor but he can be more accurate," said the coach. "I have heard some crazy stuff about him being – and I hate the word – an enforcer. His job is to create pressure and to take wickets, and to do that you generally bowl at off stump. So his jobis not to rough up theopposition. It is not to bethis ridiculous enforcer."

It was the wicket-taking bit that Broad was falling down on. Since playing a huge part in the 2009 Ashes-clinching triumph at The Oval he had struck more than twice in a Test innings just three times out of 28. And, just to emphasise the loss of his golden touch, he went wicketless in three of four one-day internationals against Sri Lanka before losing his place forthe Old Trafford decider afortnight ago.

Whether or not Broad was dropped or rested in Manchester because of a sore heel is neither here nor there. The only thing the 25-year-old needed to know was that if he had not entered the last chance saloon so far as facing India was concerned, then he had at least reached the front door.

Stop, Stuart! Yes, David Saker, England's respected bowling coach, did indeed use that "enforcer" word during the Sri Lanka Test series when talking about Broad's role. But with conditions at Lord's yesterday crying out for the ball to be pitched up most of the time, Strauss's first-change bowler went back to the method that brought him so much success against Australia two years ago.

"Yes, that's probably the best I've bowled (since The Oval in 2009)," agreed Broad when asked to rate his day's work. "Finding that fuller length, and showing that nicks and bowleds can come from that length, will give me confidence leading into the rest of this series. I'll certainly be searching forthat fuller length, with the odd quick bouncer."

Brought into the attack with India's opening pair of Gautam Gambhir and Abhinav Mukund having made a solid start, Broad's confidence cannot have been high, and when he quickly followed Friday's golden-duck dismissal with a no ball and then a leg-side wide, it may not have been only Yorkshire supporters who were muttering: "Send for Bresnan."

From then on, however, Broad scarcely put a foot, or a delivery, wrong and might have claimed Mukund lbw almost instantly had anyone bothered to appeal. Still, the wait was not a long one. Another swinging delivery, full and straight, soon ripped between Gambhir's bat and pad to rattle the stumps and put a beaming smile back on Broad's face.

That success was just what he needed. And when Mukund deflected a near-yorker into his stumps it looked as though Broad had reacquainted himself with Lady Luck as well as a much more timber-threatening line and length. Fortune is a fickle old thing, though. Yes, Broad did benefit from an excellent low catch at second slip by Graeme Swann after finding the edge of Sachin Tendulkar's bat and, in the process, breaking a good many million Indian hearts. But by the end of a second spell even more impressive than his first he could and should have secured his first five-wicket haul since August 2009.

The chance which Strauss put down at first slip before VVS Laxman had scored a run could not have been much simpler. And while Swann's drop during the same over – a more expensive lapse because it gave Rahul Dravid a life on 42 – was easier to explain, it was a catch that ought to have stuck.

Broad deserved better. But crucially, he is back in the wicket-taking business, with yesterday's late dismissal of Praveen Kumar a nice bonus.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face
books
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' is based on historical events
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
filmSir Ian McKellen will play retired detective in new film
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil