Broad took South Africa’s best batsmen Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock
STUART BROAD will never repeat the incredible feats of his last Test at Trent Bridge but he tried his best yesterday.
Broad took three wickets on his home ground and was England’s most threatening bowler on the opening day of the Investec Second Test.
Of course, it was not remotely as devastating or historic as his 8-15 against the Aussies two years ago, the previous Test in Nottingham.
But his victims included South Africa’s two best batsman — Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock — and he was chiefly responsible for reducing the tourists from 179-2 to 235-6.
Then a seventh-wicket stand between Vernon Philander and Chris Morris, worth 74 runs so far, left the match finely-balanced.
Broad, 31, suffered a repeat of his heel injury leading up to the First Test, but he was running in with speed and purpose here.
He captured three of the first four wickets while his big mate James Anderson managed just one victim — but it was his 300th Test wicket in England, a unique achievement.
Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow said: “Stuart’s record speaks for itself. He had eight for spit here last time and you could see in his spell after tea when he took two of his wickets that his rhythm was very good.”
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Broad added: “If you take seven wickets on the first day of a Test, you’d be pretty pleased.
“We were one short of that and probably didn’t get it quite right with the second new ball.”
Faf du Plessis, back from paternal leave, won the toss and must have agonised before deciding to bat first. Joe Root said he would have bowled.
The morning was overcast, the pitch carrying a green tinge and the ball nibbled. But England made fewer inroads than they wanted because they tended to bowl too short and the surface lacked pace.
Proteas opener Dean Elgar drove at a wide-ish ball from Anderson and Liam Dawson held a fine catch leaping to his right at backward point. Then just when Heino Kuhn was starting to refresh the parts other batsmen cannot reach, he dragged on to Broad for 34.
By then, England had already wasted two reviews for lbw.
Neither looked remotely out in live time but captain Root allowed himself to be persuaded by Ben Stokes and Broad.
Amla, who passed 8,000 Test runs, and De Kock then threatened to drag the match away from England.
They put on 113 for the third wicket but De Kock flashed at the first ball after tea from Broad and sliced a catch to Alastair Cook at first slip.
De Kock, who scored 68, insisted: “We had a lot to prove after losing the First Test. We knew we needed to fight and throw the first punch, but England are also fighters.”
Broad’s third wicket came when Amla failed to control a hook shot and the ball sailed straight to Mark Wood at fine leg.
Du Plessis fell to a tumbling legside catch by Bairstow off Stokes, with the same partnership accounting for Temba Bavuma.
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