MANCHESTER, England (AP) — With Ben Stokes retreating to a back-seat role, Stuart Broad filled in as England’s all-action allrounder to move the team within sight of a test series victory over the West Indies on Saturday.
Broad smashed a counterattacking 62 in a return to form with the bat, then played a lead role as part of England’s destructive pace quartet to leave the West Indies on the ropes after day two of the deciding third test at Old Trafford.
In reply to England’s first innings of 369, the tourists were 137-6 when bad light forced stumps on a day the forecast rain never came in Manchester. They trail by 232 runs, with the follow-on still very much in play.
Broad, the team’s second-highest wicket-taker in tests, was dropped for the first test that England lost in Southampton, and showed his disgust and disappointment in a TV interview midway through the match. Restored for the second test in which he took three wickets in each innings, Broad continues to take his anger out on the West Indies.
“You don’t have many days that you, individually, can go, ‘Wow, that was a great day,’” the 34-year-old Broad said. “You have to cherish the days things go OK for you but they don’t mean anything if you don’t win the game.”
Resuming on 258-4, England collapsed to 280-8 after losing wickets in four consecutive overs, only for Broad to do his best impression of Stokes with a belligerent 45-ball 62 before lunch. It was the left-hander’s highest test score since 2013 and the best he has looked with the bat since breaking his nose while batting against India at Old Trafford a year later, an incident which he acknowledged drained him of confidence against pace bowling and led to him using a sports psychologist.
“There’s no doubting it had a psychological effect,” Broad said, recalling the moment he top-edged a delivery by Varun Aaron into the grille of his helmet, giving him two black eyes and requiring him to have nose surgery. “It certainly made batting not very enjoyable.”
Broad smashed nine fours and a six in a potentially game-defining ninth-wicket partnership with Dom Bess worth 76 runs. His 33-ball half-century tied him for third place on the all-time list of England’s fastest test fifties.
“It was not one of those situations to try and hang around and see where we went,” Broad said. “It was one of those situations where you take it to the bowling attack, and it suited my style.”
Broad made his test debut in 2007 and was considered a No. 8 by soon-to-be-captain Andrew Strauss, even an allrounder around the time he scored 169 against Pakistan at Lord’s in 2010. In recent years, he has been a No. 11 but has been working at his English county, Nottinghamshire, to keep his head more still.
“There was a little bit of thought process into the madness today,” Broad said. “I did enjoy being out there.”
The West Indies batsmen didn’t. They came out after lunch under gray, threatening skies at Old Trafford, horrible conditions to face one of the strongest and deepest pace attacks England has put out.
By stumps, Broad, James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes all had wickets and the West Indies was looking battered and beaten. Stokes, struggling for full fitness after his starring role in the second test, is unlikely to bowl in Manchester and wasn’t looking needed.
Broad took the wicket of Kraigg Brathwaite (1) in his first over — England’s second — and also trapped Roston Chase lbw in the final session to finish with figures of 2-17.
Anderson also had 2-17 on his home ground as England opened the bowling with its two all-time leading test wicket-takers, playing a test together for first time in six months. It certainly rolled back the years and was a sight to cherish for England fans, with the veteran pacemen combining for figures that made for impressive reading: 4-34 off 21 overs.
Archer, supposedly the new star of England, was first change and worked in the shadows.
“On today’s performance, do you think we are in the best bowling attack?” Broad asked, pointedly, in the post-match news conference about him and Anderson.
The West Indies closed with Jason Holder on 24 and Shane Dowrich — looking extremely uncomfortable — on 10, their bid to capture a test series in England for the first time since 1988 looking in ruins.
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