Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
“His bowling is always getting better because he learns and when things are looking tough and hard he brings out something special”
Legendary England all-rounder Sir Ian Botham has announced that pace bowler Stuart Broad has left his critics with “egg on their faces” after he took a five-wicket haul on the first day of the first Ashes Test against arch-rivals Australia in Brisbane.
Broad was labelled ‘Stuart Fraud’ by Brisbane’s Courier Mail and, in an attempt to silence his critics, he even walked in to the post-match press conference with the newspaper tucked under his arm.
Botham also lauded Broad’s use of the short ball and how he troubled the Australian batsmen throughout the first day with it.
“Broad was brilliant – he used the short ball sparingly but well and I think he enjoyed holding that ball up with his five-wicket haul,” Botham said on the Sky Sports Ashes podcast. “There has been some pretty pathetic journalism over here, locally in the Courier-Mail, some quite bizarre stuff and there will be a few guys that will have egg on their faces now.
“That’s the best way to answer these people. The worst thing they could do was to bait him as they have done because they gave him all of the energy and enthusiasm he needed; he responded magnificently.
“His bowling is always getting better because he learns and when things are looking tough and hard he brings out something special.
“So well done Stuart Broad and well done England; it was very much their day. If they bat anything like we would expect them to on this pitch, then there are lots of runs to be had.”
Botham added that he expects England to mop up the Australian tailenders with relative ease before going on to establish a decent first-innings lead.
“Kevin Mitchell, the curator, was a little bit worried about the weather forecast which has changed (as it often does in the tropics),” Botham said. “I think this wicket was just a day drier than he would normally have had it so days two and three should be extremely good for batting.
“We don’t expect it to do a great deal for at least another two days and I think England will be thinking about batting for most of that time.
“They’ll come here tomorrow morning and the bowlers will be fresh and they’ve got a relatively new ball – it’s 10 overs old and there are just two wickets to go and then they’ll be batting.”