Over 37.2 of West Indies second innings
Stuart Broad to Shane Dowrich
The ball lands, seams in sharply, and nips between Dowrich’s clueless defensive prod and shatters the stumps.
Wicket No 384 for Stuart Broad
He had gone past the legendary Sir Ian Botham’s tally of 383 wickets. It was always coming and expected to happen in this Test but when it dawned eventually, Broad’s ‘hands in his mouth’ celebration seemed just appropriate.
For the past few years, this tall seamer had been the architect of several of England's Test victories and alongside James Anderson, he has become a force to reckon with in England’s bowling line-up. Much alike how Botham strode his way into history books in the 1980s, Stuart Broad is well and truly on his way to legendary status.
He has been exceptional for England in the past two years and this is evident from his stats in this time period. Since the start of 2015, Stuart Broad is England’s highest wicket-taker with 120 scalps in 33 Tests at 25.35. He has three five-wicket hauls in this period but has looked good enough to take atleast six in the past two years.
His best came in Trent Bridge against the Aussies when he ripped through them to finish with 8/15, his career-best figures. But there was also the 6/17 at Johannesburg, where his authority over AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla stood out.
That is the thing about Broad. When he is in his zone, he rips apart opposition mercilessly. Unlike James Anderson, who operates on a more consistent basis, Broad’s graph would go like a school kid’s picture of a mountain. Up and down.
When in rhythm, the world sees an altogether different Broad. He is unplayable, in the face and seams the ball at will. And he knows it too.
“It’s strange. I feel light in my run-up. I hate being left, it feels like a waste, so the most important thing is that I make the batsmen play pretty much every ball,” Broad spoke about how he feels when he is in the zone.
“It means that if I get any nibble either way, I bring both sides of the bat into the equation. I know I’m a better bowler and create more chances if I get a batsman indecisive in defence. Hopefully, I can push on further in the next two Test matches,” he added.
He wasn't probably at his very best at Edgbaston but still created havoc in 11 balls, nipping out three wickets and being on the verge of a hat-trick while going past Ian Botham's tally while the legend himself was in the commentary box.
It was an emotional moment as Ian Botham, who had never been below No 2 in the Test wicket-takers list from England since 1984, watched Stuart Broad overtake him with a delivery that is typical of what the World has seen from this tall fast bowler.
Since making his debut in 2007 in Colombo against the Lankans, Broad, son of former cricketer and current match referee, Chris Broad, has been an integral part of the England Test squad. Although he is down the line in limited-overs cricket these days, there is no stopping Broad the Test cricketer.
With 484 wickets in 107 Tests, Broad is second only to James Anderson who has 492 in 127 Tests and could well finish his career as England's highest wicket-taker in Test cricket given that he is four years younger than Anderson.
“Oh God, Yes! I'm 31 now and still feel like I have quite a bit of cricket left in me. I'm loving the energy around this team, I'm loving be part of it. It's one of those teams at that moment that feels like someone different is stepping up each day, which is really exciting”, Broad quipped when asked if he would love to play the 2019 Ashes.
He might well do that given that he is fit and firing for most part of the last two years. He even had a brief chat with Ian Botham, his childhood hero, after the Test.
“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 90s. And because Beefy (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,” Broad expressed as revealed by ESPNCricinfo.
“I saw him (Botham) 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,” Broad said of Ian Botham.
— ICC (@ICC) August 19, 2017
At 31, Broad is well and truly set in England's plan for the next two years atleast. He has been in terrific rhythm in the past few years and has bowled jaw-dropping spells both with the new and the old ball. Now with the pink ball in hand, Broad once again showed that he could be a genuine force for atleast the next two years. Watch out, Jimmy! He is right behind you.