Stuart Broad: Greater than Botham, but Anderson’s underling


We take a look at the ins and outs of fast bowler Stuart Broad’s recent heroics, after he surpassed former captain Ian Botham as England’s second-highest Test wicket-taker. Broad now has 384, one more than Botham, while fellow right-armer James Anderson leads the pack with 492.

It’s possible, too, that Broad and Anderson will reach 400 and 500 respectively across the remaining two Tests of hte ongoing three-match series against the West Indies. Betway’s odds, meanwhile, are certainly in England’s favour for a clean sweep.

Broad’s milestone wickets

First: Chaminda Vaas – Opening the bowling alongside the veteran Ryan Sidebottom, debutant Broad had the Sri Lankan all-rounder caught by Ian Bell in the slip cordon, as an intimidating short ball succeeded in placid conditions during December 2007’s second Test in Colombo.

50th: Ricky Ponting – Broad’s second-innings dismissal of the Australian captain contributed to a fine 115-run victory for the hosts at Lords, July 2009. The veteran right-hander leaned in for a cut shot, but only succeeded in chopping the ball onto the stumps.

100th: Mahela Jayawardene – May 2011’s series opener saw the tall right-armer undo the veteran Sri Lankan with some nagging lines and slight lateral movement outside the off-stump, with a resultant edge to wicketkeeper Matt Prior ending a fine century.

150th: Denesh Ramdin – In May 2012’s Player of the Match performance that brought Broad his first 10-wicket Test haul, Ramdin was among the slew of victims. The wicketkeeper-batsman was outfoxed by a clever change in length, which offered an easy catch in the slips.

200th: Michael Clarke – Old Trafford in Manchester was the scene of Broad’s double century in August 2013, when Ponting’s successor was denied a double ton of his own by Broad’s challenging seam movement.

250th: Mahendra Singh Dhoni – Not for the first time and not the last, Broad combined with Prior to have a batsman caught off the edge. The Indian skipper’s demise didn’t prevent a famous win over England in London in July 2014, though.

300th: Chris Rogers – Just the third delivery of August 2015’s fourth Ashes Test brought Broad his triple century. Unable to successfully negotiate some taxing nip off the seam, the bespectacled Australian left-hander departed for a duck. Broad ended up taking eight wickets in the innings in front of his beloved Nottingham crowd.

350th: Yasir Shah – Striking in the first over of day three, Broad put an end to the Pakistan tail-ender’s relatively lucrative exploits with the bat. The Pakistanis, regardless, won July 2016’s series opener at Lord’s inside four days.

384th: Shane Dowrich – Another wicketkeeper-batsman who acted too slowly for Broad’s pace and was bowled, Dowrich afforded Broad the wicket that took the elated Englishman past the legendary Botham’s tally at Edgbaston earlier this month. The pace ace, indeed, performed superbly with a pink ball in England’s maiden day-night Test.

Botham on Broad

“I couldn’t be more pleased for Stuart. It was only a matter of when, not if, he passed my wicket tally for England – and I think it’s terrific that he’s got there. I’ve got plenty of great memories of his bowling and I’m sure there are plenty more to come yet because at 31, time is certainly on his side. There’s no secret to his success over the years – he makes use of all of the attributes that he’s got. He’s got height and pace and he gets bounce; perhaps most importantly of all he has that knack of producing match-changing spells.

“Looking on, I got quite emotional waiting for him to get the wickets – not least because then everyone could relax. It was great, too, that he could do itat Edgbaston, where the atmosphere has been great and under the lights too. It could have been an anti-climax if it had occurred at Headingley. He’s come such a long way since I first had a real chat with him – that was before he’d even played a single Test.

“I bumped into Stuart on a beach in Barbados and it was no surprise to me when his debut came very shortly afterwards in Colombo. Over 100 Tests later he’s still going strong and hopefully we’ll catch up later on in the week and open something special to celebrate his success. It’s absolutely brilliant.”

Root on Broad

Broad on Botham

“My dad made me watch that ‘On Top Down Under’ video – the highlight of the 1986-87 Ashes – relentlessly. I watched that throughout the early 1990s. And because Botham was such a legend you see images and footage of him performing throughout his career. I saw his Headingley game and stuff and then saw him in 1986-87 both with bat and ball and the slightly dodgy sweatbands. He’d obviously get fined by the ICC with them now. He has been a big influence on me. Of course, he played with my dad and he is a huge legend of English cricket.

“But he’s also given a lot more to this team. In the past couple of years he has spent more and more time in the changing room and the guys really listen to him. He is passionate about English cricket and you can tell he wants us to do well. And he obviously has an influence on us because of the way he performed against Australia. The players thrive off that.

“I was very fortunate to get my Test cap off him back in 2007. I saw him downstairs and I could tell he was genuinely proud and delighted that I’d managed to go past him and that’s testament to him. And he said that we’ll share a nice bottle of wine later in the week. If he’s buying, that’s quite exciting! It’s special. A really special day.”

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Where to from here?

The 31-year-old Broad is now Test cricket’s 16th highest wicket-taker. While it’s unlikely he’ll ever reach the loft heights of Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Australian Shane Warne (708), Indian Anil Kumble (619), Australian Glenn McGrath (563) or West Indian Courtney Walsh (519), time is on his side to join Anderson in the ‘400’ club.