Stuart Broad played a key lower-order hand for England after a collapse threatened its superiority. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images.
Stuart Broad played a key lower-order hand for England after a collapse threatened its superiority. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images.

Tailender Broad set for bouncer barrage

The Australian bowling attack won't make the same mistake twice and English tailender Stuart Broad can expect a barrage of short balls when he next bats after playing an Edgbaston innings which could end up matchwinning.

Broad's top half has always been a target for the Aussie bowlers but it was a plan they went away from on day three of the opening Test, and to their detriment.

The 33-year-old survived for 25 overs in a 65-run partnership with Chris Woakes which took their team from just in front ton miles ahead in a game in which every run could prove vital.

Broad's 67-ball stay was his longest since 2013 and by the time he was out England was 79-runs in front.

Everyone not on the field knew what the bowling plan to Broad should have been and when Pat Cummins finally got him out, hooking a short ball to fine leg, the chorus of "finally" rang out among the smattering of Aussies in the crowd.

Aussie speedster James Pattinson conceded it was part of the plans, but they didn't execute as well as they could have.

"I think it was just how short you went. Patty Cummins was just saying that he thought the ball was almost hitting him on the toe, that's how short he had to bowl to get it up," Pattinson said.

"I think he obviously was trying to do that but the ball wasn't getting up. Once we figured out we had to bowl it a little bit shorter and almost hit you on the toe, it probably paid off.

"It's something that we can look upon doing early on in his innings when he comes out."

Stuart Broad ducks under a bouncer during his important first-innings knock. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images.
Stuart Broad ducks under a bouncer during his important first-innings knock. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images.

Pattinson said a soft Dukes ball, which the Aussies tried several times to change, didn't help their cause. But nor did a plan to treat the English tailenders as actual batsmen.

"We had message before we came here to try and bowl as we would to the tail as we would to the top order," he said.

"In the past over here sometimes, we have attacked too much and Broad and those type of people have scored quite quickly and taken the game away from us a little bit.

"They put on a good partnership, but they batted quite a while as well. It's a game of luck sometimes."