England’s Staurt Broad proud to join exclusive club

Stuart Broad said he was elated to have joined some of his cricket “heroes” as he and England new-ball partner James Anderson became only the third pace pair to take a combined 500 Test wickets.

Broad finished the third day of the third Test against India at Southampton with three for 65 and Anderson took three for 52.

Their efforts helped reduce India to 323 for eight in reply to England`s first innings 569 for seven declared, a deficit of 246 runs.

It also meant the England duo found themselves in the company of Pakistan`s Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis and the West Indies` Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh in being the only pace bowling pairs to have an aggregate total of 500 or more Test wickets.

“To go into the company of Wasim and Waqar, and Courtney and Curtly is a huge honour,” said Broad after stumps.

“They were four heroes of mine growing up,” the 28-year-old son of former England opening batsman Chris Broad added.

“I think it shows the value of partnerships when bowling.

“Jimmy and I constantly talk on and off the field even though we have played a lot of cricket.

“I will still ask Jimmy at the end of an over what he thinks,” said Broad, now in his 72nd Test.

“We work together really tightly. It`s a great feeling to know we have 500 together.”

England came into this match having gone 10 successive Tests without a win, with much of the talk centred on how senior players such as batsmen Alastair Cook and Ian Bell were struggling for runs, while Anderson and Broad had often looked both physically and mentally tired.

By contrast, England newcomers such as Sam Robson, Gary Ballance and Moeen Ali had provided the highlights for the hosts during their 1-0 home series defeat by Sri Lanka and at the start of this five-match campaign with India, who are 1-0 up after a 95-run win at Lord`s last time out.

However, the seasoned campaigners have weighed in for England so far in this match, with Bell top-scoring with 167 and Cook making 95.

“In the summer so far there has been a lot of talk about the new guys coming in and the senior men taking responsibility and maybe we put too much pressure on ourselves,” Broad said.

“Before this Test, Peter Moores (the England coach) came to a few of us and said just go express yourself, don`t worry about having to take responsibility, just go and play as though it is your first Test, and I think that has shone through.

“Cooky and Belly played fantastically with the bat and Jimmy and I have contributed today with the ball,” explained Broad.

Anderson and Broad`s workload has increased following the retirement of off-spinner Graeme Swann, who quit during England`s 5-0 Ashes debacle in Australia.

At his best, Swann gave England both wickets and control, allowing three seamers in a four-man attack to be rotated and not over-bowled.

This season England have called up Moeen Ali, primarily a batsman, to replace Swann.

Although his occasional off-spin has been derided in some quarters, the Worcestershire all-rounder has now taken 12 wickets in five Tests, including two for 62 on Tuesday, albeit both Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane gave their wickets away.

“Mo is developing every game as a spinner,” said Broad.

“He picked up two freebies really but I think that was out of the pressure he had developed. He deserved those two wickets.

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