With Ben Stokes retreating to a back-seat role, Stuart Broad filled in as England’s all-action allrounder to move the team within sight of a test series victory over the West Indies on Saturday.
Broad smashed a counterattacking 62 in a return to form with the bat then played a lead role as part of England’s destructive pace quartet to leave the West Indies on the ropes after day two of the deciding third Test.
In reply to England’s first innings of 369, the tourists were 137-6 when bad light forced stumps at Old Trafford on a day the forecast rain never came. They trail by 232 runs, with the follow-on still very much in play.
Broad was dropped for the first test that England lost in Southampton, and showed his disgust and disappointment in a TV interview midway through the match. Restored for the second test in which he took three wickets in each innings, Broad continues to take his anger out on the West Indies.
Resuming on 258-4, England collapsed to 280-8 after losing wickets in four consecutive overs, only for Broad to do his best impression of Stokes with a belligerent 45-ball 62 before lunch. It was the left-hander’s highest test score since 2013 and the best he has looked with the bat since breaking his nose while batting against India at Old Trafford a year later, an incident which he acknowledged drained him of confidence against pace bowling and led to him using a sports psychologist.
Broad smashed nine fours and a six in a potentially game-defining ninth-wicket partnership with Dom Bess worth 76 runs. His 33-ball half-century tied him for third place on the all-time list of England’s fastest test fifties.
The West Indies came out to bat after lunch under gray, threatening skies at Old Trafford, horrible conditions to face one of the strongest and deepest pace attacks England has put out.
By stumps, Broad, James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes all had wickets and the West Indies was looking battered and beaten. Stokes, struggling for full fitness after his starring role in the second test, is unlikely to bowl in Manchester and wasn’t looking needed.
Broad took the wicket of Kraigg Brathwaite (1) in his first over — England’s second — and also trapped Roston Chase lbw in the final session to finish with figures of 2-17.
Anderson also had 2-17 on his home ground.
The West Indies closed with Jason Holder on 24 and Shane Dowrich on 10, their bid to capture a test series in England for the first time since 1988 looking in ruins.