Now comes the real test - Broad
Stuart Broad experienced several of the most “special” moments of his career on the second day at the Brit Oval - but he knows they will count for little if they do not end up helping England win the Ashes.
Broad took 5-37 as he and Graeme Swann, who claimed 4-38, caused an unexpected Australia collapse from 73 for none to 160 all out in reply to 332 in the final npower Test.
England closed on 58 for three but still appear in control of their destiny again - with three days left to convert their advantageous position into the win needed to snatch back the urn.
Broad knows England are close but dare not take anything for granted in what has been a summer of hugely fluctuating fortunes.
“It was as special as you can get as a cricketer - going down to fine-leg with everyone on their feet and clapping,” he recalled, of his part in an afternoon session which ended with a teatime standing ovation after England had taken eight wickets.
“The English fans have been fantastic throughout this series. We hope we can repay them and win the Ashes,” he added.
England’s surge came from nowhere on an atypical Oval pitch which has called for patience from batsmen and bowlers alike.
Broad put the success down to morale and planning, under Andrew Strauss’ captaincy.
“It was fantastic,” he said. “To have come out after lunch when they’re looking like 80 for none, it would have been easy to relax into the session.
“But to get together and fight like we did and bowl them out for 160 puts us in a great position.”
Even so, he notes there is much work still to do.
“Five wickets here is not important until we do what we’ve got to do over next two or three days,” he pointed out. “Tomorrow is still a massive day, the biggest in this Test match.
“If we can get our heads down in that first hour we can really put the Aussies under some pressure.”
England’s lead, on a pitch which has offered turn for finger spin from the outset, is already 230 - and Broad hopes another 170 or so may be enough.
“I’d take 400 off you now,” he said. “The way the wicket is turning - and we’ve got a world-class spinner in our ranks - is very handy for us.
“There is a lot of time left, so we don’t need to chase the game.
“If we can look to try to bat the day and someone go on and get a hundred - one thing we’ve not done as much as we’ve wanted to in this series.”
Twenty-three-year-old Broad was only a teenager when England won the Ashes here in 2005, to end a generation of failure against Australia.
He recalls pacing the floor at home when Kevin Pietersen was helping Michael Vaughan’s team close out the draw they needed here.
“We were five down just before lunch, and I remember moping to the kitchen and thinking ’what’s happened here?’” he said.
“My feelings and emotions fluctuated so much throughout that day. It may turn out to be the same again for our supporters.”
Broad, whose father Chris once helped England win the Ashes in Australia and whose sister is part of the current back-up team, was cheered on by another familar face in the crowd today - his mum Carole.
“She normally gets her hat on and hides in the background so no-one notices her,” he explained. “But I could see her cheering on a few occasions, which was nice.”
Andrew Flintoff wrapped up the Australia innings by bowling Ben Hilfenhaus, his first wicket of his final Test.
Yet Broad does not consider himself as a ready-made replacement for the Lancashire all-rounder.
“Not at all; I couldn’t replace ‘Fred’,” he said. “He’s been a fantastic servant to English cricket and someone I’ve admired for many years.
“It’s been a privilege to play with him and hopefully we can send him out on a winning note.”
While Broad was following up his career-best 6-91 from England’s crushing fourth-Test defeat at Headingley Carnegie, Simon Katich (50) was the only Australia batsman to offer any resistance.
The opener admits Australia have a huge task on their hands to avoid defeat.
“There is still a fair bit of work to do, but obviously we have got to keep fighting hard,” he said.
“Today obviously didn’t go to plan, but we have to hang in there and restrict England to as little as possible - so second time around we can make amends. The game is far from over.”
Katich acknowledges there may be some qualms about the unusual Oval surface, but is content to give England due credit.
“There weren’t really a lot of balls that disturbed the surface,” he said.
“The bottom line is England got the momentum - and after the initial partnership, we just couldn’t string another one together. We know it’s going to be tough work.
“Stuart bowled well, and his spell cracked the game right open.”
Please note: there are London Underground weekend engineering works that may affect your journey to the Brit Oval on days 3/4 of the Test - for the latest information see the Tfl website