Broad’s five highlights England’s errors
Scott Bailey |
Amid Stuart Broad’s bright spot for England in Sydney on Thursday, there was a blunt reminder for the tourists of why they have got it so wrong.
Broad’s 5-101 made him the first English player to take a five-wicket haul this summer, dismissing Steve Smith, David Warner and centurion Usman Khawaja along the way.
He is now the second-leading wicket-taker of all Englishmen in Ashes competition, just three scalps away from joining Ian Botham on 128.
But he played just one of the first three Tests this summer.
Broad has removed Smith (9) and Warner (13) more times in Test cricket than any other bowler.
Yet inexplicably, he bowled only four more overs than Joe Root in the first three Tests as England surrendered their shot at the Ashes.
Instead, England have rested and rotated their quicks, not playing Mark Wood in Adelaide when he was required.
Broad in turn sat out both Brisbane and Melbourne, wickets that had enough in them for quicks with wet weather around on the opening days.
“Two pitches that have been by Australian standards extremely helpful to a bowler of his type,” former England captain Michael Atherton told the Seven Network.
“He is a medium-fast seam bowler really. He is not a swing bowler like (Jimmy) Anderson.
“You could probably come to Australia for a decade and not get a couple of pitches like the Gabba and MCG that offer you that amount of movement off the pitch.
“And yet he has been selected at Adelaide and here in Sydney, so he probably feels that (he’s missed the best conditions for him).
“In fact, I know that he feels that.”
England have other concerns after Australia’s 8(dec)-416.
Ben Stokes is nursing an injured left side after he was forced from the field after clutching at it following a bouncer to Steve Smith.
Stokes returned after an hour of treatment, but did not bowl again.
The star allrounder has had an incredible strain put on his body through the tour, asked to bang the ball in short during several spells.
It follows his first major return to cricket after a broken thumb last April and a subsequent break away from the game for personal reasons.
“It (the injury) wasn’t that difficult to predict with the tactics asking him to bowl in a way he is perhaps not used to or his body is not used to,” Atherton said.
England’s star vice-captain has also had underwhelming returns in England’s comprehensive series loss, averaging 71.50 with the ball and 16.83 with the bat.
And England’s spinning woes also continued in Sydney, with Jack Leach going wicketless from his 24 overs.
It’s telling that Leach has sent down just two maidens this series. Nathan Lyon in comparison has bowled 37.AAP