Stuart Broad puts England into commanding position against West Indies as 500-wicket milestone looms

Rory Burns hopes he can do his bit to help Stuart Broad complete the “ridiculous achievement” of 500 Test wickets as England push for victory in their series decider against the West Indies.

By Rory Dollard
Sunday, 26th July 2020, 10:53 pm
England's Stuart Broad (3rd right) celebrates taking the wicket of West Indies John Campbell during day three at Old Trafford. Picture: Michael Steele/NMC Pool/PA
England's Stuart Broad (3rd right) celebrates taking the wicket of West Indies John Campbell during day three at Old Trafford. Picture: Michael Steele/NMC Pool/PA

Broad enjoyed the latest in a long line of memorable days for England, moving his side into a commanding position at Emirates Old Trafford with combined figures of 6-22 on the third day to take his career tally to 499.

Burns also played his part, stretching the home team’s lead to 398 with a knock of 90 in the second innings as Joe Root declared in time for Broad to leave the Windies in trouble at 10-2.

A bad weather forecast looks likely to delay the victory push today but Broad requires only one ball to become the seventh bowler in history to reach a magnificent milestone and the fourth seamer after team-mate James Anderson, Glenn McGrath and Courtney Walsh.

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England's Joe Root (left) and Rory Burns leave the pitch after England declare following the dismissal of Burns for 90 on day three at Old Trafford. Picture: Martin Rickett/NMC Pool/PA

Burns routinely occupies a catching position at gully and will be on red alert when the 34-year-old resumes the hunt.

“It’s a pretty ridiculous achievement to get to 500. Hopefully, we can keep grabbing them for him,” said Burns.

“I’ll be standing at gully and hopefully I’m going to catch it if he gets a nick. It’s a nice place to be when his tail is up and he’s bowling like this. You feel like every ball is going to come to you. We’ll be standing there waiting.”

Burns’s primary role in the side is to weigh in with runs and he has done exactly that in this third Test, following up his day one knock of 57 by going close to a third England hundred.

England's Joe Root evades the ball ion his way to a half century on day three at Old Trafford. Picture: Michael Steele/NMC Pool/PA

With Root keen to get the Windies back in before stumps, he was in a race against time at the end and fell attempting to hurry to the three figures.

“It was nice to play some different shots, usually I reserve a few of them for Twenty20 practice,” he said.

“It felt good to open up a little bit. I think Joe was going to give me another over to try and get there but unfortunately I missed out trying to hit the fence. It was good to set up the team in a good position though, that was the most important thing.”

Burns and Dom Sibley had earlier put on 114 for the first wicket, the first century at home between England openers since Sir Alastair Cook and Alex Hales in 2016.

England celebrate taking the wicket of West Indies Kemar Roach during day three Picture: Michael Steele/NMC Pool/PA

The pair appear to have made the troublesome top-order slot their own and are arguably the most settled pairing since Cook and another knight, Sir Andrew Strauss, last played together.

“Me and Sibbers have a good relationship away from cricket, we know each other really well from our time together at Surrey,” he said.

“This is another step up but it’s about helping each other where you can. He has adapted really well to Test cricket, which is pleasing, and for us to push on as a partnership and get stats like that is really good.”

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons knows his side face an uphill task to save the game and retain the Wisden Trophy.

“We haven’t had any centuries in the series so I’m always going to be putting pressure on them to get one,” he said.

“The wicket still looks good, there are two days left to bat and someone needs to get themselves a big hundred. There is plenty of time in the game.”

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