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After losing the first Test by four wickets in Southampton, the host bounced back in the second Test in Manchester with a 113-run win. While the series saw some impressive individual performances, including Windies captain Jason Holder and England’s all-rounder Ben Stokes, one that truly stood out was Stuart Broad’s in the deciding Test.
After being dropped for the opening Test, Broad admitted that the snub came as a shock. But in Manchester, he proved why he’s one of England’s greatest. The pacer picked six wickets in the second match and performed remarkably well in the last. The 34-year-old finished with third career-best figures of 10/67 and a half-century in the first innings to go along with it. He was named the Man of the Match and England’s Player of the Series.
During the post-match interview, Broad, mentioned that he is currently in great rhythm due to the technical work he has put in and believes England’s pace attack is one of the strongest in the world currently. The Nottinghamshire bowler became the second Englishman and the seventh bowler overall to take 500 Test wickets during the final test.
“When you get milestones, you want them to lead to match wins and series wins. So, it feels very special today. [I] Haven’t ever really set any targets on that front (on how many wickets he would end up with). The competition keeps everyone performing. We’ve got a real battery of fast bowlers at the minute. Really strong bowling attack in these conditions. Chris Woakes today, he’s been bowling beautifully since we got into the environment. The five-for is justified. Jimmy’s (James Anderson) still at the peak of his power, turns 38 in the break that we have. Such a pleasure to be playing with him,” Stuart Broad said.
England skipper Joe Root expressed immense happiness and said he is proud of the way his team responded to script a comeback series win.
“The last two weeks have been excellent. We set out a game plan throughout the two games and we executed it pretty well in both departments. In the first game, with the first innings runs and in this game with the ball, we were outstanding. It’s a great step forward for us as a batting group. You look at the talent among those guys, you feel they can exploit a lot different surfaces around the world,” Root added.
He also stated that Broad’s exploits in Manchester bear testament to how good and committed a player he is before adding that it is a privilege to play alongside Broad and Anderson. “For him (Broad) to come back and make the impact in these two games is testament to how good a player he has been. Couldn’t be more happy for him, especially the way he finished off today. Runs in the first innings, 500 wickets, it’s a phenomenal achievement. [He is] Very good with the other bowlers as well and he is happy to pass on his experience and advice. We’re playing with two of England’s best of all time,” said Root.
Living in a bio-bubble
Windies captain Holder, who admitted that living in bio-bubble posed numerous challenges, emphasised that his batsmen needed to score big in order to ease some pressure off the bowlers. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in the last two Tests.
“Not quite sure what changed [after Southampton]. Didn’t get the runs we were looking for. Had plenty of starts. Got 40s, 30s but didn’t kick on. In contrast, when Stokes got in and some of their players got in they went big. [We] Won the first Test, so wanted to play our best team [for the second Test]. Looking at the actual cricket itself, need our batsmen to get runs. Can’t ask bowlers to do much more than what they’ve done so far. It’s been challenging in the bubble, mentally getting worn out. Same hotels, same rooms. Definitely been challenging,” Holder concluded.
England’s next assignment is hosting Ireland for a three-match ODI series at home, starting on July 31 at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.