Friday, August 21, 2009

Broad shoulders all-round responsibility

Stuart Broad showed that Andrew Flintoff might not be such a huge loss to the Test team after putting England on course for Ashes glory.

Nottinghamshire all-rounder Broad claimed five for 37, including the first four wickets to fall, to upstage Flintoff on the second day at the Oval.

"Freddie's been a fantastic cricketer"
County colleague Graeme Swann chipped in with four wickets of his own as Australia crashed to 160 all out.

This match was set up for something special from 31-year-old Flintoff but it is his natural successor who has developed English momentum heading into day three.
England will resume on Saturday on 58 for three, an overall lead of 230, with captain Andrew Strauss unbeaten on 32.

"Freddie's been a fantastic cricketer for many, many years," said Broad, now comfortably England's leading wicket-taker in the series with 17. "If I can be half as good as he's been I'll be very pleased.

"Certainly England are going to need a replacement in Test cricket to bat number seven and bowl a bit and I've batted seven in a couple of Tests.
"My batting will need to improve to do that on a long-term basis, but I believe I can develop with hard work."

Broad savours 'special day'
At 23, Broad now has three Test five-wicket hauls to his name - the same as 31-year-old Flintoff.

And the crowd reaction to Broad's efforts with the ball was reminiscent of the reception the Lancashire man has received in his finest hours during a 79-Test career.

"It was as special as you can get as a cricketer - going down to fine-leg with everyone on their feet and clapping," admitted Broad.
"The English fans have been fantastic throughout this series. We hope we can repay them, and win the Ashes. There is a lot of time left, so we don't need to chase the game."

Australia were well positioned at 66 without loss when Broad was introduced from the Vauxhall end and struck with his sixth ball to begin a terminal decline of 10 wickets for 87 runs."

"The game is far from over"
Much has been made of the deterioration in the pitch but Australia opener Simon Katich, who top-scored with 50, insisted: "Broad bowled well and his spell cracked the game right open.

"He changed his pace well and swung the ball both ways. The crowd got involved and it was hard to stop that momentum.

"I guess there will be a fair bit said about the wicket but there weren't really a lot of balls that disturbed the surface.

"The bottom line is England got the momentum and after the initial partnership we just couldn't string another one together.

"There is still a fair bit of work to do but obviously we have got to keep fighting hard.

"We know it's going to be tough work. Whenever you bat last in a Test match you understand that. You assume the wicket will get worse but as we saw at Lord's it might slow up, who knows?

"The game is far from over, as we showed by taking three late wickets. There is an Ashes up for grabs, so hopefully we can pull off something special."

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