WWhen Stuart Broad got the upper hand over David Warner on day one of the Sydney test, in the drawstring to be tied up securely, it was as if something had fallen into place. It was the smell of a familiar dish, or YouTube of a favorite scene from a movie. The comfort of the familiar and the rightness of something that should be right.
At the same time, there was the unmistakable feeling that thousands of people around the world were shouting on their televisions that they had told you, or told someone, and why no one had. listen ?
The 2019 Burning of Warner’s ashes with the Broad torch is the stuff of all time. Ten innings, 95 points, a single-digit series average. Among cricket fans, he lives with the power and permanence of a racing memory. Broad was the executioner in seven of the 10 layoffs, going around the wicket to the left-hander, tilting the ball in, using his mastery of English conditions to sow it and swing it from such a full length as it is. still threatening. Sometimes he happened to hit pads or stumps, sometimes to take the outside edge, even to shoot nicks when an increasingly bewildered Warner attempted to leave the ball.
In the current series, then, when Broad was left out in Brisbane and Melbourne, perplexity was rife. Why would England give up the weapon that could wipe out Australia’s prolific opener? Maybe because it was a different year in a different country. The bowler had previously played two series against Warner in Australia. Of the five tests in 2017-18, Broad didn’t fire him once, while Warner set the tone several times and got a 63 GPA. In 2013-14, Broad got it four times. , but only after the opener had scored enough points to reach an average of 58..
Even the previous series in England had not followed Broad’s path: no wicket in 10 attempts in 2015, where Warner made five half-centuries and an average of 46; a six-round layoff against the junior version in 2013. Highlighting the dominance of 2019 on the one hand, you also have to admit that in all of their other contests, Warner played 15 tests for six wide layoffs, three centuries, 12 half centuries, and an average of almost 49. But it could have been different with Gabba, right? Where Broad released it twice in 2013? Yes, I took it out for 49 and 124.
Granted, the 2021 Gabba had some greenery and juice on the surface, and this duel could have been compelling. Whether there had been a psychological hangover from 2019 would have been tested. The public have been deprived of the intrigue of this contest, and that is a shame in itself.
That’s not to say the whole series would have been different. Broad instead played Warner the following week in Adelaide. Warner made 95. Even if Broad had been selected in Brisbane, England would likely have followed the batting plan first. Which brings us back to the problem that England’s stick is currently far from the norm to function in international cricket. Broad’s prowess with the stick would not have improved from the Brisbane Day One debacle.
Of all the arguments that played out before and during each test over the selection of bowlers, England experienced a batting meltdown every inning: 10 for 147, eight for 74, eight for 86, nine for 144, eight for 124 , and 10 for 68. Stuart Broad can’t change that. Stuart Broad can’t defend that. Wasim Akram, Malcolm Marshall and Robocop merged with a bowling alley can’t defend this. Even the magic of bowling cannot turn batting coal into gold.
So when a veteran fired the other on day one at SCG, there was an echo of what might have been if they had faced each other to start the series. There was also an echo of what might have been had the work of Broad and the company been supported by the rest of their team. That edge in the drawstring could be the starting point for a mighty bowling wave on day two, and it still won’t matter an ink stain in the scoreboard unless England find ways to support it. Warner’s big bowling alley in Brisbane was never going to change everything. It can’t change anything unless something else changes first.