Watch Stuart Broad reflect on an ideal first day for England
By Rob Barnett
Six-wicket star Stuart Broad hailed a “perfect” England performance in restricting India to 152, but refused to take too much credit for doing so.
Broad’s 6-25 inside 14 overs is his third-best Test return and did much to undermine Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to bat first at an overcast Emirates Old Trafford.
The tall England paceman struck twice in sensationally reducing the tourists to eight for four and he returned to take the last four wickets, including Ravichandran Ashwin for 40 and Dhoni for 71.
The hosts replied well with 113 for three, albeit they lost Gary Ballance for 37 in the day’s last over.
Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, Broad said: “After losing the toss, to bowl India out for 150 is perfect really.
“We obviously had a fantastic start in quite heaving bowling conditions. Dhoni and Ashwin played nicely when it got a bit sunnier.
“We lost Gaz in the last over but other than that I think it was a fantastic day.”
Although Alastair Cook said he would have done the same, Dhoni’s choice at the toss seemed curious when James Anderson and Broad capitalised on early conditions hugely favourable to seam bowling.
By mid-afternoon strong sunshine prevailed, making batting easier for Dhoni, Ashwin and England’s top order.
“This morning it was quite cloudy, heavy, it felt like it could swing,” Broad added. “When the sun came out this afternoon it did it much less.
“We got lucky with the overheads this morning but we used a huge amount of skill to make use of those overheads so hopefully the weather forecast will be kind to us tomorrow.”
Bell will resume on 45 and Broad hopes he or another team-mate can register three figures.
“It was nice to get six wickets but it was the all-round pressure from the whole bowling unit that got me the wickets today,” he explained.
“It was just my day. Ten team wickets in the day is a fantastic effort. We created pressure from both ends.
“Huge credit has to go to the guys behind the wicket taking the catches. We took some sharp chances and we’ve set ourselves up in this Test match.
“It’s a very important day tomorrow. If one batsman gets a hundred it puts us in a fantastic position.”
Broad’s individual heroics are all the more remarkable considering he continues to manage a long-standing issue of tendonitis in his right knee.
Speaking to a press conference after play, the 28-year-old confirmed he will be assessed by a specialist after the fifth Investec Test at the Kia Oval before undergoing surgery to cure the problem.
"It's been confirmed I'm going to have an op," Broad added. “The timing is not confirmed but the fella is flying over from Sweden after the Oval Test to have a look.
"It will either be after that Test or after the one-day series, depending on what he suggests. At any stage in the last 18 months I could have had the op and it's at the stage where it needs to be done.
“It's actually a really good opportunity for me to get the knee sorted and to use it as a strength and conditioning period."