Stuart Broad, Test cricket’s latest entrant into the 500-wicket club, said it was a shame to not have friends and family in attendance on his big day but was grateful to have his dad – Match Referee Chris Broad – watching on in the stadium.
Broad joined one of cricket’s most exclusive clubs when he took his 500th Test wicket on Tuesday as England completed a series-clinching win over the West Indies at Old Trafford. The 34-year-old became just the seventh bowler and fourth pacemen to reach the landmark when he had opener Kraigg Brathwaite plumb lbw for 19 on the fifth day of the third Test.
Broad ended the series when he had Jermaine Blackwood caught behind as the West Indies, set a huge target of 399 for victory, collapsed to a meagre 129 all out in under 38 overs.
Broad finished with a match return of 10-67 in addition to the dashing 62 he made batting at No 10 in England’s first innings 369 that featured Ollie Pope’s 91.
In between Broad’s strikes on Tuesday, fellow paceman Chris Woakes returned innings figures of 5-50.
Victory saw England, who controversially left Broad out of the side that lost the first Test at Southampton by four wickets, complete a 2-1 win in a three-match series and regain the Wisden Trophy they lost in the Caribbean last year.
West Indies were left thinking about how they could have escaped with a draw when, soon after their defeat, rain hammered down at Old Trafford.
Man-of-the-match Broad, playing in his 140th Test, had been stranded on 499 wickets when, after he had already taken eight in this match, rain washed out the whole of Monday’s fourth day.
He reached the 500-mark on Tuesday when a full-length ball struck Brathwaite’s back pad, with the opener not bothering to review umpire Michael Gough’s decision because he was so clearly out.
“It feels amazing,” Broad told Sky Sports of his landmark achievement, which came during a behind close doors series that marks international cricket’s return from the coronavirus lockdown.
“I’m looking forward to playing in front of crowds again,” added Broad.
“I want to say a huge thank you to the West Indies too, the sacrifice they’ve made. This summer wouldn’t be happening without them.”
‘Special to get to 500’
Broad’s father Chris – a former England opening batsman – was at Old Trafford to witness his son’s achievement in his role as the match referee. As per ICC’s modified rules for cricket during coronavirus pandemic, local match officials are allowed for Test matches.
“It’s a shame that my friends and family can’t be here to give a little wave to but it was great to have my dad here,” said Broad.
“It was special to get 500, it’s great to have one family member here ... It feels great to do it when contributing to a win.”
Brathwaite was also the dismissed batsman when James Anderson, Broad’s longstanding England new-ball colleague, took his 500th Test wicket, at Lord’s in September 2017.
“What a stat that is that we got both Brathwaite for our 500,” said Broad.
“He (Anderson) came to me yesterday when we were batting and said you know who it’s going to be, ‘Kraigg Brathwaite’.”
Broad took the first three West Indies wickets to fall in their second innings of this match.
The only bowlers with more than 600 Test wickets are former spinners – Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Australian Shane Warne (708) and India’s Anil Kumble (619).
The only seamers ahead of Broad are Anderson (589 wickets) and Australia’s Glenn McGrath (563) and the West Indies’ Courtney Walsh (519), both of whom are retired.
England captain Joe Root, for his part, spoke about how lucky England are at the moment to have both Anderson and Broad in the team.
“For him to come back into the team and have such an impact is testament to how good a player he has been for England over a long period of time. 500 Test match wickets is a phenomenal achievement,” Root said.
“Really pleased for him to get to that milestone. Those big moments in series, he grabs them. He wants to take the ball when you’re up against it. Very good with the younger bowlers, happy to pass on his experience and advice to them. It’s a real privilege to play alongside both Jimmy and Stuart.”
(With AFP inputs)