Nottingham: England paceman Stuart Broad is proud of the way his side have restricted Australia captain Michael Clarke in the Ashes series so far but warned they cannot let the star batsman off the hook. (Make or Break for ‘Lost’ Michael Clarke)
Scores of 10 and three during Australia’s eight-wicket defeat by England in the third Test at Edgbaston left Clarke with a meagre series aggregate of 94 runs in six innings at an average of under 19.
Back and hamstring injuries have restricted Clarke to just eight Tests in the past year and, with Australia 2-1 down in the five-match Ashes series, there is a sense the 34-year-old is approaching a crunch point in his brilliant career. (KP Backs England to Triumph Over ‘Fragile’ Australian Batting)
“We obviously do a lot of research on him because he averages something like 52 in over 110 Tests which is remarkable, the career he’s had,” said Broad speaking Tuesday at his Trent Bridge home ground, where the fourth Test starts on Thursday.
“We’ve made it hard for Michael. We know how dangerous he is. He is such a key player for them and it’s been going well so far.” (Bell Ready For Australian Backlash)
Thursday’s match will see England go into a Test without James Anderson for the first time since both he and Broad were controversially rested from the team that played the West Indies in a rain-affected draw at Edgbaston in 2012.
Anderson, who took an Ashes best six for 47 at Edgbaston last week, has been ruled out with a side strain.
As well as being England’s all-time leading bowler in Tests with 413 wickets, the 33-year-old Anderson has a brilliant record at Trent Bridge with 53 wickets in eight Tests at an average of 19.24.
“Jimmy extracts the most out of this wicket as any bowler I have seen and not just swing,” said Broad.
“In 2013 (when England beat Australia by 14 runs in the first Test at Trent Bridge) he was bowling cutters and that sort of thing that were causing the Aussies problems.
“I am gutted for him that he is missing this Test match.”
The 29-year-old Broad, who when he last played a Test without Anderson had match figures of two for 154 in a draw with Sri Lanka at Lord’s in 2011, tried to downplay his new role as the senior England bowler.
“The importance of that is not to apply too much pressure to myself. That doesn’t change my role particularly,” said Broad, a veteran of 82 Tests.
– Inconsistency –
If they are to regain the Ashes at Trent Bridge, England will have to do something they haven’t done all year and win two Tests in a row.
“We are consistently the most inconsistent side,” said Broad.
“We have to change that. There is no point ignoring and pretending it has not happened. A braver thing is to talk about it in the changing room.”
“It is exciting because now we have approached the situation and got it out in the open and said this is happening and let’s change it. That is a very good place to start.
“As a team when we are aware of things we do change it pretty quickly,” he added.
Nottinghamshire’s Broad heads into Thursday’s match just one wicket away from becoming only the fifth England bowler to take 300 Test wickets after Anderson, Ian Botham, Bob Willis and the late Fred Trueman.
“Obviously the chance to get 300 Test wickets would be a proud moment,” said Broad, the son of former England Ashes-winning opening batsman Chris Broad.
“It would be a special place to get it. It would be more special if it is in (a return of) five for 20, not one for 150.”