Broad defiant amid gloom for England
Stuart Broad insisted England would not crumble mentally after a second miserable day against Australia at Headingley Carnegie - and claimed a home hero could still emerge in the Test match.
England look set taste defeat in Leeds after a rejuvenated Australia demolished them on day two of the penultimate Ashes Test.
Australia have shown a familiar ruthlessness in leaving the home team 82 for five in their second innings, still a massive 261 runs behind.
Aspiring all-rounder Broad, who took personal Test-best figures of 6-91 in the tourists’ total of 445, may have to play the innings of his life if Australia are not to wrap up victory tomorrow.
Broad said: “We’ve had two average days of Test cricket, but we’ve had four or five months of really good Test cricket before that.
“We’re still a very confident bunch of players and we’re obviously disappointed how we’ve performed in this game, but confidence is not something you lose overnight.
“It’s important that we remember there are Test match runs and Test match hundreds out there.
“We’re 1-0 up at the moment but if it goes to 1-1 there is still one match to play.”
Australia may not longer possess superstars like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden but the new breed left England looking exposed.
“I can’t comment on Australian teams of the past because this is the first time I’ve played against them,” said Broad.
“They’re a very talented team. They’ve got something about them, but we’re just focusing on what we’ve done badly this game.
“This time last year we did the same against South Africa and were bowled out by tea pushing at the ball and I think we did similar things in the first innings.
“It’s a lot easier to have presence when you bowl a team out for 100.”
Marcus North’s second hundred of the series and 93 from vice-captain Michael Clarke had earlier helped Australia to build on their overnight position of 196 for four.
Left-hander North now has three centuries in his six Test appearances, and got to three figures today with a pre-meditated six off spinner Graeme Swann.
“To score a hundred in a Test match like we are playing right now is pretty satisfying,” North admitted.
“For both teams going into this Test match it was quite obvious it was the biggest Test match of the series to date.
“England took a lot out of the draw at Cardiff. For them to show the character they did helped them take the momentum into Lord’s.
“I think we have done exactly the same thing coming from Edgbaston because England went into that final day believing they could win.
“But as Ricky Ponting has said, if we play our best cricket for a period of time we are going to be very competitive.”
Left-armer Johnson’s resurgence appears particularly ominous for the hosts, as he produced the kind of spell which charged him to 100 wickets in 23 Tests.
“He had a tough month but he showed some great signs at Edgbaston and is now bowling exactly as he did in South Africa earlier this year and it’s great to see a guy get his rewards,” North added.