STUART BROAD produced one of his unstoppable spells today to give England a sniff of winning the Second Test against the West Indies.
A week after Broad said he was “frustrated, angry and gutted” to be dropped for the First Test, he showed England what they were missing.
And that is a bowler who can find a surge of inspiration seemingly from nowhere and transform the complexion of a cricket match.
Broad snared three wickets with the second new ball – three for one in 15 balls, to be precise – and England suddenly dreamed of winning a game that appeared destined for a draw.
One long spell with old ball and new brought figures of 9-4-14-3.
England were not able to enforce the follow-on but Joe Root signalled his intentions by sending out Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler to open the second innings.
They quickly lost Buttler and No.3 Zak Crawley but by the close of day four had extended their lead to 219.
England will try to score around another 100 runs on Monday as quickly as possible and then bowl out the Windies.
If they don’t, the Wisden Trophy is guaranteed to remain in the Windies’ hands.
Broad’s knees were pumping and his confidence coursing – the usual trademarks of his cutting-edge contributions – and now his white headband acted like another symbol of swagger.
Another epic spell came from Ben Stokes, who sent down an incredible 57 short balls during an 11-over burst.
It was a near-bodyline tactic, designed to overcome a slow pitch and upset and unsettle the Windies batsmen.
He gained reward, too, when opener Kraigg Brathwaite gave him a return catch from the first ball of his tenth over.
Later, Stokes started rubbing his stomach and chest and everyone feared the worst when he left the field, but it turned out to be indigestion.
Jofra Archer is capable of pace and penetration but he’s spent the last few days in his hotel room after his pit stop in Brighton.
He ran laps of the outfield at 7.30am and then in the afternoon bowled some balls on his own in the nets.
Archer will play in the Third Test here on Friday but there’s no doubt his moment of madness has hurt his team.
Nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph was dropped by Stokes at second slip and lasted a total of 52 balls before popping Dom Bess’ second delivery to short leg.
But that was spinner Bess’ sole success and he tended to bowl too short.
Shai Hope was caught behind from a Sam Curran cutter and Brathwaite was caught and bowled during Stokes’ epic spell.
During the morning session, Dom Sibley absently-minded put saliva on the ball, realised immediately, and confessed to the umpires.
Under Covid-19 regulations, they had to clean the ball with an antiseptic wipe.
The Windies reached 242-4 before Shamarh Brooks was Broad’s first wicket for a stylish 68.
Jermaine Blackwood, the hero of the West Indies’ run chase in the First Test, was bowled for a duck by a Broad grubber.
And then Shane Dowrich also perished for nought, leg before to a rampaging Broad.
Roston Chase was given out lbw to Curran for 14 but DRS overturned the decision.
Chase took West Indies below the 200 deficit needed to avoid the follow-on with a hook for four and went on to make 51.
Chris Woakes grabbed the final three wickets – Jason Holder caught at slip, Chase lbw and Shannon Gabriel bowled by a slower ball.