Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Broad Must Step Up to the Crease If England Are to Stay No1 in World

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Broad Must Step Up to the Crease If England Are to Stay No1 in World

Article excerpt

[bar] TUART BROAD produced magic on this ground two years ago and England hope he can cast similar spells on South Africa with bat and ball as they try to remain the world's best Test team.

In the tarnished Lord's Test against Pakistan in 2010, remembered mainly for the spot-fixing scandal that engulfed the tourists, Broad hit a brilliant 169 to help rescue England from difficulty and place them in a match-winning position.

As a bowler, Broad has improved steadily throughout his international career. He was excellent in the second half of last summer and against Pakistan and Sri Lanka during the winter, but has not quite achieved that consistency this summer. He has also endured a frustrating time as a batsman. From his four previous Tests, Broad averages 13 and his top score is 25.

Broad can be an explosive, menacing bowler yet these qualities have not been on show as often as he would have liked in this series. The absence of Tim Bresnan, sent back to play for Yorkshire when England chose Steve Finn as their third seamer, means there is greater need for Broad to combine aggression with responsibility when he bats.

England expect runs from their No8.

With the inexperienced James Taylor and Jonny Bairstow in the middle order, Broad's seniority within the team will extend beyond his bowling duties.

Broad's strength as a batsman is to assert himself -- as well as his 169, he has nine half-centuries, made often on the counter-attack -- but the risk is that the rush of adrenaline weakens his judgement. At Headingley, Broad could have lent useful support to Matt Prior in England's first innings, but instead was caught off Imran Tahir, attempting a huge heave over midwicket after he had scored only one.

Broad enjoys the big stage and is the kind of cricketer who expects, rather than hopes, that he will perform well. A key man for England in all forms, Broad rejects suggestions that playing Test, one-day and Twenty20 cricket is draining his reserves of energy.

"The England set-up is very well managed now," Broad told ESPNcricinfo. "Andrew Flintoff just played until he broke. …

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