In the 143 years of Test cricket history, only three fast bowlers have taken more than 500 wickets. Only one among them is still playing. Stuart Broad is on the verge of joining the elite list along with his partner-in-crime James Anderson, as he took all the six West Indian wickets that fell on day three of the third Test at Old Trafford. To put the numbers into context, Ishant Sharma, whose Test debut was a few months before Broad’s, is the only current fast bowler after Broad in the wicket-takers list. And the difference between them is just 202 wickets. While Broad has played 43 matches more than Ishant, the former’s record remains a testament to his consistency and longevity.
The tourists started the day well with Holder and Dowrich batting with a balanced combination of caution and aggression in the first hour. Holder crossed the 2000 run mark in Test cricket. In doing so, he became the third West Indian after Gary Sobers and Carl Hooper to score 2000 runs and take 100 wickets in Tests. Along with Dowrich, he added 39 runs in ten overs before Stuart Broad happened. Introduced for the first time in the day, he dismissed Holder on the third delivery. Seaming the ball back into the right-hander, he struck him on the pads right in front of the stumps. Broad also removed Cornwall and Roach in his third over. While Cornwall was hit low on the pads, Roach edged a full delivery that was seaming away from him.
In the last decade, Stuart Broad has taken 5+ wickets in a day of Test cricket on 12 occasions.
No seamer in the world has done so on more occasions, in that period.#ENGvWI— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) July 26, 2020
The final nail in the coffin came in Broad’s next over when Dowrich tried to hit his way out and top-edged a length-ball to Chris Woakes at mid-on. From 176/6 the West Indies were all out for 197. After going berserk with the bat on Day two, Broad’s 6/31 shut the hopes of the tourists. Now, if that is not enough, he came back later in the day to dismiss John Campbell and nightwatchman Kemar Roach. Broad’s tally of wickets added up to 499 as the Windies were reduced to 10/2.
Earlier, having gained a lead of 172, England sent their regular openers in, unlike the previous Test match. Both Burns and Sibley put their unorthodox game to good use. The duo batted-out the second session with no hurry. Roston Chase and Rakheem Cornwall bowled in tandem for the most of the session. The batsmen were more than happy to score at just over two runs per over.
In the post-tea session, they started playing their shots. And Burns, in particular, used the sweep shot exceedingly well against the spinners. Meanwhile, Sibley made yet another half-century, cementing his place at the top of the order with Burns. Soon after, he was struck on the pads by Jason Holder back-to-back only for the second time to be given out. Holder was troubling him with the ball that nipped back sharply into him. While the first ball was barely hitting the top of the bails, the next one was bang-on for the umpire to give it right away.
Joined by Joe Root, Burns accelerated as they were trying to extend the lead. While Root took time to get his eye in, he cut loose once the spinners started bowling in tandem. The duo added 112 runs off 103 balls with Root contributing 68 from just 56 balls. Burns, too, played his shots and was on his way towards a century. Trying to slop-sweep Chase into the leg-side boundary, Burns holed out to the deep-midwicket fielder falling short of what could have been his third hundred. England declared immediately setting a target of 399 to win the match.
Brief scores: England: 369 & 226/2 Decl. ( Rory Burns – 90, Joe Root – 68*, Stuart Broad – 6/31) V West Indies: 197 & 10/2 (Stuart Broad – 2/8).