Stuart Broad delivered one of the greatest Ashes bowling spells to consign Australia to a humiliating 60 all out. Joe Root then piled on further agony with a boundary-laden century.
Match-Report (4th Investec Test Match, The Ashes): England vs Australia at Nottingham, Aug 06, 2015
If the alternating win-loss patterns of England had any concerns that the ‘bad’ England would turn up in Trent Bridge, they were banished, in part at least, with one of the most emphatic bowling displays in the history of The Ashes. The good news was, it came from quarters where England might have least expected, but wanted the most from.
Stuart Broad, once the contender for leading all-rounder in test cricket, has lost much of his batting vim since copping a Varun Aaron bouncer en route a bloodied nose. So much so that Moeen Ali is the designated lower-order enforcer now. But Broad’s bowling was more of a concern as his returns (5 wickets in Cardiff, 4 in Lord’s, 3 in Birmingham) dwindled even as Anderson, Finn and Mark Wood each made their mark. But Trent Bridge offers something to fuller lengths, and Broad’s late, subtle swing combined to devastating effect as he remembered the lesson in time.
Broad began as he meant to go. On 299 Test wickets, it took him a mere three deliveries to get into 300 club. A pitch perfect delivery which came in with the angle and nipped away off seam, took out Chris Rogers, perhaps the one batsman Australia had capable of ‘knuckling down’. Smith has been in the sort of form which makes you feel indestructible. He showed as much with a four through point second ball. But the caveat is, no matter your form, you still build each inning afresh and Smith, over-eager to assert himself was squared up by the next one which had his edge fly to third slip. Over one, 10/2. Warner didn’t trouble the scorers, as a nip-backer from Wood at 140k+ was welcomed with delirious cheers from the slip-cordon.
Michael Clarke might’ve hoped for a better situation to come out to, when he demoted himself to No 5. Tenth delivery of the match and the crowd already was short of breath. Another full ball nearly had Clarke’s number as he edged to fine-leg. Broad, meanwhile, was relentlessly pounding the full-length, again bringing in a delivery to Marsh, and seaming away to catch his edge en route Bell’s safe hands. The champagne moment came in the next over. First ball, on the off-stump, full. Voges pushed hard and Ben Stokes at fifth slip plucked it out while still airborne, the ball past him. 21/5 and Broad had figures of 3-2-6-4. His fiver came soon after, when Clarke – showing no gumption for battling the conditions – threw his hands impatiently at a wide offering and duly edged to Cook at first slip. It looked ugly, but importantly it looked like the last semblance of patience and fight had gone out of Australia.
Steven Finn beat Nevill for pace. 33/7. Johnson kicked away a couple of boundaries, while extras continued to add more weight when the swing went awry. But Broad was willing to concede a few byes as a trade-off. It was worthwhile, for he had his second two-wicket over when both Starc and Johnson nicked to Root at third slip off that subtle nipping away delivery on the channel. Seven in seven, and finally Australia found some patience in batting order in form of Lyon and Hazlewood but Broad wrapped it up with his eigth. It took him all of 100 minutes to do so. Fittingly, he also drew level with one of England’s finest ever – Fred Trueman and surpassed McGrath’s 8-38 in Lord’s.
England’s response was fittingly with a spring in step. Lyth crunched couple of delicious boundaries while Cook timed some of his own sweetly to safely negotiate the first ten overs. Mitchell Starc broke through with the wicket of Lyth and Bell in consecutive overs but Joe Root purred to (yet another) half-century in 67 balls. Johnson and Hazlewood kept feeding him width and Root happily unfurled a variety of cuts, late-cuts and drives to double Australia’s score and beyond. Cook was beaten for pace by Starc at the stroke of tea but Bairstow and Root clicked another gear. A desperate Clarke brought on the off-beat option of Warner’s bowling. By the time Root caressed yet another four to bring up his third Ashes ton, he had outscored Australia on boundaries alone.
Hazlewood broke the 173 run stand with a cross-seamer to account for Bairstow, but the pair had scored at over five-an-over to take the game well and truly away from the visitors.
Australia 60 (Johnson 13, Broad 8/15) vs England 274/4 (Root 124*, Starc 3/73)
Player(s) of the Day: Stuart Broad, England
Disappointment(s) of the Day: Australian batsmen(!)