Sports often inspires performances that overcome physical discomfort. Stuart Broad showed that in ample measure when he ignored a painful right foot to remove the batsmen who mattered in a bid to give England the opportunity to shape the result of the second Test. (Vizag Test: Day 4 Scorecard)
“In my second over I dived for the ball and my toe sort of slipped the wrong way and I have done damage to the tendon. But if that happens in the second over you have no option but to keep playing,” said Broad after close of play. (Vizag Test: Day 4 Highlights)
India probably wouldn’t have needed more than a 400-run lead to keep England under pressure. Still, they would have liked to set a target on their terms, not forced to settle for a score after being bowled out.
Adil Rashid plucked the all-important wicket of Virat Kohli but England’s bowling dominance on the fourth day morning couldn’t have been possible without Broad. Having bowled a spell of 8-0-27-2 on Saturday, Broad returned with figures of 6-5-6-2 to skittle out India for just 204.
Despite the injury that forced him to limp at times, he bowled an exceptional line and created a natural angle bowling from wide of the crease. Most awkward for batsmen though were his occasional leg-cutters.
The one that got Ajinkya Rahane reared up suddenly to catch him off-guard, taking a bump off his gloves to Alastair Cook at wide first slip. Then R Ashwin hung out his bat to a delivery that should have been left alone.
“Today I felt my leg-cutter was gripping a bit more. For a taller bowler it gives you a bit more bounce,” said Broad, who said he learnt a few things watching Zaheer Khan on England’s previous tour in 2012.
“I remember Zaheer was very good at it bowling slightly off pace then really surprise you with a quick in-swinger. That’s something Jimmy (Anderson) and I had talked about --- try to bowl slightly slow and then hit with a quicker pace at the stumps. Jimmy did that to Pujara,” he said.
With Broad giving it all, it was surprising how Cook didn’t set a more attacking field often. Not that it mattered ultimately but Broad’s search for a long-awaited five-wicket haul in India could end here when he got a healthy edge of Kohli’s bat in the 45th over. But there was no first slip.
Broad admitted he could have got a few more wickets but he was satisfied with four. “It was nice to get more than one wicket here. It’s been tough hunting here,” he said.
Given his injury, Broad’s not sure if he can play the Mohali Test. But he should be back fit for Mumbai. “You have got 17 days to Mumbai which is quite a long time. Slightly less for Mohali to try get fit for the next one but I will definitely be fit for Mumbai,” he said.