STUART BROAD had a wonderful day out as many of his cricket dreams came true.
He bashed a half-century, took two wickets and had one of his ‘celebrappeals’ answered with a raised finger.
And Broad did it all with his old mate Jimmy Anderson alongside him.
It doesn’t get much better.
Broad’s box of tricks helped England take an iron grip on the Third Test with the Windies 137-6 in their first innings at the close of day two – still 232 runs behind.
It was just like old times as Broad and Anderson shared the new ball and made big inroads into the West Indies’ batting.
Paired together for the first time this summer, they were England’s two best and most threatening bowlers in ideal conditions for swing and seam.
Broad and Anderson both believe they have a future as automatic choices but, in these days of rest and rotation, they might not feature together many more times.
Earlier, Broad transformed the mood of the match with a buccaneering innings of 62 from 45 balls.
He even looked on course to score England’s fastest-ever Test century, which was the 76 deliveries taken by Gilbert Jessop against the Aussies all the way back in 1902.
If England dismiss the Windies for 169 or fewer, Joe Root will have a decision to make over whether to enforce the follow-on.
He might be tempted too, because the forecast for Monday is poor and England have four frontline seamers – so they shouldn’t get too tired.
Broad had Kraigg Brathwaite taken at first slip in his opening over and John Campbell would have followed soon afterwards if Ben Stokes hadn’t spilled a catch at second slip off Anderson – his third drop of the series.
It was left to Archer to bounce out left-hander Campbell, a brute of a ball that flew from the shoulder of the bat to gully.
Archer worked up some decent pace in his comeback after being quarantined for his unlicensed trip to Brighton, but he conceded runs at more than four-an-over.
Shai Hope nicked an Anderson outswinger – a classic Anderson dismissal – and then Shamarh Brooks was caught behind via the inside edge.
When Broad struck Roston Chase on the pad, he continued running down the pitch and punching the air in celebration.
Initially, he didn’t even look round at the umpire. When he did, Richard Kettleborough’s finger was up.
Jermaine Blackwood was given out lbw to Anderson but the decision was overturned by DRS.
The Windies’ No.6 played a few attractive shots but then had his middle stump pinned back by Chris Woakes.
Captain Jason Holder batted more comfortably than any of his team and his contribution this morning could decide whether England are in a position to enforce the follow-on.
At the start of the day, Ollie Pope never looked like reaching his first home Test century. In fact, he could have been out a couple of times before he eventually perished without adding to his 91 not out.
A screamer from Shannon Gabriel crashed through Pope’s defences and wrecked the stumps.
Pope’s departure prompted a collapse in which England descended from 262-4 to 280-8.
Gabriel and Kemar Roach in particular were excellent and Roach took his 200th Test wicket when Woakes dragged on. Now Roach says he has set his sights on 300.
Jos Buttler edged to second slip and Archer went in a near-carbon copy manner.
But then came Broad’s cameo and the Windies, so upbeat while taking early wickets, suddenly looked bereft.
Despite his decline as a batsman – having his nose squashed by India’s Varun Aaron at Old Trafford in 2014 didn’t help – Broad can still time the ball sweetly. He makes room and swishes enthusiastically.
Broad and Dom Bess put on 76 for the ninth wicket in just 14 overs before he hit a full toss to deep mid-wicket.