As a veteran of 145 Test matches, with 517 wickets, Stuart Broad has the experience to temper fire with know-how and he certainly knows the importance of constantly adapting to the varying conditions in different parts of the world. The MA Chidambaram stadium was definitely not the quickest and with so little help for the seamer, Broad looked to a former Indian great for inspiration.
“There was nothing in the Chennai pitch on that first day and it was only when I went Anil Kumble and started to get the leg-cutter really jagging off the surface that I felt in the game,” he told the English media.
Like his idol BS Chandrasekhar, Kumble traded the leg spinner’s proverbial yo-yo for a spear, as the ball hacked through the air rather than hanging in it and came off the pitch with a kick rather than a kink.
However, Broad refused to blame the pitch for the second Test and felt India were within their rights to utilize home conditions. He also added that England were outplayed on a pitch that the Indian side was very skilled at, but was still “alien” to the visitors.
“There is no criticism of the second Test pitch from our point of view. That’s exactly what home advantage is and you are well within your rights to utilize that. Why wouldn’t India play on pitches that turn square and upon which first innings runs are vital? They outplayed us on a pitch that they are very skilled on but one very alien to us,” he said.
Looking ahead to the crucial third Test, which is of course a pink-ball day/night affair, Broad stated optimistically: “There should be more for me to work with, if selected”. But that ‘if’ is a big one. So much will depend on the conditions and the wicket that Virat Kohli and Joe Root will scrutinise on Tuesday.
An extra seamer or retaining two spinners is still an open question. As our own Anindya Dutta explains, if a black soil pitch is revealed the night before, chances are India will go in with Ishant, Bumrah and Umesh, but Ashwin and Axar will be there to exploit the turn later. England will need to think long and hard about their strategy.
In Chennai Broad had to wait as Jimmy Anderson took first watch under England’s Venerable National Treasures Bowler policy. Anderson got the ball to reverse on the red soil pitch as England roared to victory. Broad went wicketless on the very different black soil-based second Test wicket, as spin proved by far the more potent form of attack and Ravi Ashwin and Axar Patel drew India level.
Whatever combination England choose, with or without Broad, it’s a mouth-watering prospect. We’ll see you there.
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