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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Stuart Broad on fire - bowls out SA for 83 - England wins away Series

At home, most teams are tigers – when South Arica lost to India – many spoke thus.  Today at New Wanderers, Johannesburg, the home team stands humiliated.   It is Basil D’Oliveira Series.  Way back in 1968-69, England tour was jeopardised as Oliveira affair snow-balled in to a big crisis. 

When India did so badly in England in 2015, in Investec Test Series at Old Trafford, Stuart Broad retired hurt after a rare injury.  A rising delivery from Varun Aaron went straight through the grille of Broad's helmet and hit him on the bridge of the nose, immediately drawing blood. The incident occurred in the first over of the afternoon session of the third day of the match. England had resumed on 325 for eight - a lead of 173 - and Broad had immediately set about accelerating progress by hooking Aaron for successive sixes. India lost the match despite Broad being  not available and Jimmy Anderson unwell. Broad was unavailable to collect his man of the match award for his first-innings figures of six for 25.

Stuart Broad today  left England in ecstasy on the third afternoon in Johannesburg as he summoned one of the great Test fast-bowling bursts to leave them on the brink of victory in the match and the series. South Africa were routed for 83 in 33.1 overs, leaving England needing only 74 for a victory that gave  them the series 2-0 with a final Test remaining in Centurion next week.

Broad's sequence of 5 for 1 in 36 balls destroyed South Africa's top order in the first hour after lunch as 23 for 0 became 35 for 5. Remarkably, it was the seventh time in his Test career that he has produced a five-wicket spell. Broad finished with 6 for 17 in 12.1 overs, not to be denied the crowning moment when Faf du Plessis swung the ball onto his pad and, eyes lighting up, a sprint and dive claimed a one-handed catch in the middle of the pitch.  The score card reads : SA 313 & 83 … England 323 & 77/3 in 22.4 overs.

Stuart Broad has 322 wickets in 89 tests; 177 in 119 ODIs and 65 in 56 T20s.  In the recent few years, he has undoubtedly emerged as one of the most menacing test bowlers.   The Ashes in 2015 was shaping so well for England.   The 1st Test at Cardiff was won by England with a handsome margin of 169 runs.  At Lords, Aussies came back so heavily that the margin of defeat was 405 runs.  In the Third at Birmingham, England won by 8 wickets and the one at Nottingham was expected to be a challenging gripper.

James Anderson could not play !  Joe Root’s 130 was overshadowed by Stuart Broad who bowled out Aussies for 60 in Test no. 2175.   Australia 60 – yes all out - utterly bereft,  dismissed for 60 in only 18.3 overs, with cricket statisticians wading through damning numbers either achieved or narrowly avoided. Broad, carrying an onerous responsibility in the absence of James Anderson, returned his best Test figures of 8 for 15 in 9.3 new-ball overs amid scenes of general delirium.  Broad had begun the morning hoping for 300 Test wickets. He finished level with Fred Trueman's 307.  

Aussies have a special dislike for Broad, though his Facebook page on date has 993,794 likes.  In 2013, when England toured OZ,  ECB were worried that a crazed fan will attempt to tackle Stuart Broad to the ground during the boxing day Test in Melbourne .  During that time, several Facebook pages  emerged in which commenters promised to run on to the MCG turf and tackle the England bowler if they receive a certain number of 'likes' on their pages. One page is believed to have had 114,000 likes when its owner asked for 100,000 to do the deed and that  prompted Cricket Australia to get in touch with Facebook to ask for the page to be removed.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

16th Jan 2016.

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