Just a few months ago Stuart Broad took 8-15 as England destroyed the Aussies to win the Ashes. Fast forward to now and he once again stepped it up on the big occasion, taking 17-6 to single handedly tear apart the South Africans and win the series for England.
Broad’s spell of breathtaking bowling came just as the game was in the balance. South Africa were 16-0 coming out after lunch, only 3 runs ahead of England. If they could just bat out the next few sessions and take a 300-350 run lead the game would be totally in their favour. However, Stuart Broad had other ideas…
After winning the toss on the first day and selecting to bat, the hosts looked in a relatively good position at 161-4. It was an average batting and bowling performance from each side and South Africa consequently finished on 313 all out. For England however, it was a different story. With the curse of the England No.2 spot (see OSS awards) on him, Alex Hales put in a limp display leaving the crease after only 1 run. After Cook and Compton both fell for small scores, James Taylor was caught by Bavuma for 7. With England 91-4, the hosts were firmly in control. So, who better to have but Joe Root to lead a comeback! Taking the score from 91-4 to 201-4 Stokes and Root swung the game right back into the balance and even when Stokes departed for 58, Root went on to make a century. England then pushed ahead of South Africa before being bowled out for a respectable 323.
Now time for Broad to shine. After finding it hard to break through the openers in the first innings, Broad drew an edge from Elgar and Bairstow made a sharp catch. 5 runs later Broad got the other opener Van zyl before De Villiers nicked an inside edge through to Bairstow for a duck. His next wicket came quickly as well (Amla for 5) although it’s Taylor who should be given the credit for this, making an incredible one handed catch to his left. It was calculated he had just 0.551 seconds to react. Then Broad got his fifth by bowling Bavuma for a duck. In the space of 31 balls, Broad had now taken 5 wickets for 1 run!
Inspired by Broad, England bowled the hosts out for 83 and needed just 74 to win the series. After knocking that off easily they had officially beaten the best team in the world. In my opinion this England team can become one of the best of all time. With an assured captain, a superb middle order and a bowling department that can destroy any team on their day England should be the world’s best team by 2017. However, some improvements can be made. The No.2 and 3 spots are troubling England at the moment and with Compton and Hales struggling it may be time for another change. In terms of Broad, I think he is now better than Anderson and the world’s best bowler. It’s a big statement but he can tear teams apart like no-one else can do.
Rest of the world……Beware!!