Saker stands by 'warrior' Broad
England bowling coach David Saker believes it is “only a matter of time” before Stuart Broad rediscovers his best form.
While Chris Tremlett enhanced his burgeoning reputation with Test-best figures of 6-48 and James Anderson made vital new-ball incursions to set in motion Sri Lanka’s slide to 184 all out, Stuart Broad had to wait until the third morning for his first wicket of the game.
In having Chanaka Welegedara caught at short extra-cover to end the innings, Broad completed figures of 1-51.
While some observers used such a modest return as evidence that his tactics of repeatedly bowling short were misguided, Saker has no intention of curbing Broad’s aggressive streak.
“That’s definitely his personality and we do want him to be the enforcer in our team,” he said.
“When Stuart bowls bouncers you can tell there’s a lot of vengeance in it and aggression behind it.
“There’s probably no better bowler in the world at bowling bouncers than Stuart Broad. Stuart likes to attack and he’s warrior-like. We want him to be like that.”
Broad’s best spells – against Australia at the Oval and against South Africa in Durban, both in 2009 – were founded on a desire to attack the top of off stump.
Although Saker admits Broad has not bowled as full as he could and possibly should have over the last three days in Southampton – “sometimes when you’re looking for wickets you do change your lengths a bit too much instead of banging away at an area” – he is reticent to alter what comes naturally to the youngest and feistiest member of England’s attack.
"We’ve all got three different personalities and we try to bowl to their strengths as far as their personalities," Saker said.
“Chris is a very introverted guy who just runs in and does his job and puts the ball on a length.
“He bowls the occasional bouncer, whereas Jimmy jumps from one role to the other, and that’s really fantastic for us.
“Sometimes that’s the kind of balance you want in your attack and it’s good that we have that balance.”
Saker is keen to point out, with some justification, that Broad has had precious little luck recently, but his last five Tests, including the current one, have yielded just nine wickets at 55 apiece.
“He’s beat the bat a lot in this Test series,” Saker said. “He’s been dreadfully unlucky and if he’d have got two or three wickets more in this series, not too many people would have been talking about him.
“Over the last few Tests, although he has not been getting wickets, his rhythm to the crease has been good. It’s only a matter of time before he turns it around.
“As a bowling coach, I’m really happy with the way he’s going. It’s just a matter of time before he turns it around.
“He hasn’t put too many games together of late and the more he plays the better he’s going to get. A bit of confidence and he’ll be right.”