Stuart Broad Scales The 500 Peak As England Wrap Up With A Series Win

What a series it’s been for Stuart Broad. The veteran English pacer was dropped from the side for the first test, something that left him “frustrated and angry”. He was brought back for the second test, and proved a point with a strong performance. It was the third test for which he reserved his best, as he returned 10 wickets in the match and also a half-century with the bat. In the process he picked up his 500th test wickets, a milestone achieved by only six players in history before him.

The West Indies’ fortunes, in contrast, swung the other way as the series progressed. The men from the Caribbean had punched above their weight to secure a memorable win in the opening test. However it was downhill thereafter as they lost the plot. In the third test they surrendered rather meekly to England, conceding a series that they had begun so promisingly.

After losing the toss and put in to bat for the second time this series, England piled up an impressive 369, thanks to good performances by Ollie Pope (91) and Jos Buttler (67) and some excitable lower order hitting by Stuart Broad (62 off 45 balls). Broad then led the way with the ball, picking up six wickets as the West Indies folded for 197.

Having secured a first innings’ lead of 172, England wasted no time in the second innings and looked to pile on the runs quickly. Rory Burns, Dom Sibley and captain Joe Root scored half-centuries as England declared on 226, setting the West Indies a target of 399. At stumps on the third day, the Windies were 10 for 2 in their chase and Broad was stranded on 499 wickets. With rains washing out day four entirely and the weather forecast for day five also predicting showers, there was a slight glimmer of hope for the West Indies to eke out a draw, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Broad got to 500 early on the fifth morning when he trapped opener Kraigg Brathwaite leg before wicket (LBW). Incidentally, Brathwaite was also James Anderson‘s 500th victim. Broad got four wickets in the innings (making it 10 for the game) while fellow paceman Chris Woakes helped himself to a five-wicket haul, as the West Indies were bundled out for a paltry 129.

Broad was awarded Man of the Match and was also selected as England’s Player of the Series for his 16 wickets at 10.93 apiece, the highest in the series despite playing a test short. Roston Chase was the West Indies’ Player of the Series for his 10 wickets and vital contributions with the bat.

Broad joins an elite club of players comprising Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Australians Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563), India’s Anil Kumble (619), West Indies’ Courtney Walsh (519) and his own partner-in-crime Jimmy Anderson (589).

Stuart Broad’s career has seen an impressive rise after some early setbacks. One remembers the sight of Broad as a hapless 21-year-old that was smashed for six sixes in an over by Yuvraj Singh in 2007. But he put this behind him and has grown leaps and bounds as a cricketer over the years. Having spent his entire career alongside the more illustrious Anderson, he often doesn’t receive the recognition he deserves. He is especially potent in home conditions, where he generates sharp seam movement into the right-hander. His record away from home often sparks criticism, but the fact remains that he has been one of the most successful test bowlers in recent history.

The West Indies will be looking to address their batting woes before more test cricket comes their way. Their bowlers put in more than satisfactory performances throughout the series. It was the batting that really let them down.

With a series win under their belt, England are now scheduled to play three ODIs against neighbours Ireland, before hosting Pakistan for three tests and three T20Is. Indian fans can catch live action on Sony Six or live stream the matches on SonyLIV.

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