Five-star Broad inspires England
Stuart Broad’s seismic bowling display tore through South Africa as England meted out a 10-wicket hammering at Trent Bridge in the second game of the NatWest Series.
After South Africa captain Graeme Smith won the toss and opted to bat on a firm pitch, Broad unleashed a devastating opening spell of 10-3-23-5 to wreak havoc in the tourists’ batting line-up as only Andre Nel, Mark Boucher and Herchelle Gibbs managed double figures.
South Africa’s innings, which encompassed only 23 overs, was their shortest completed one-day innings, with Andrew Flintoff (3-29) and Steve Harmison (2-4) also getting in on the act.
In reply, Matt Prior, who had earlier equalled Alec Stewart’s feat of six catches in an innings against Zimbabwe at Old Trafford in 2000, smacked a blistering 45 not out from just 37 balls as he and Ian Bell saw England through to a comprehensive victory in a game that lasted just 223 balls.
The day, however, belonged solely to Broad, whose figures - in front of a packed home crowd - were his best in ODI cricket and saw him break through the 50-wicket barrier in just 34 games.
He and James Anderson took the new ball on a cloudy yet humid day in Nottingham, with Smith nearly departing third ball from the latter’s opening over as he called Gibbs through for a suicidal single to get off the mark.
Bell’s diving attempt as he skirted round from cover missed the stumps and Gibbs went on to open South Africa’s boundary account - an edge through third slip, which he followed up decisively with a dismissive jab through square-leg.
At the other end, Broad suffered no such indignity and he removed Gibbs for 10 with the score on 16 after the batsman unwisely shuffled down the track only to inside-edge a simple chance through to Prior.
The early breakthrough brought Jacques Kallis to the crease and, coming off the back of his classy 52 at Headingley Carnegie, the burly right-hander confirmed his intentions with a scything cut through point off Anderson.
Smith also opened his boundary account with a flowing push through the covers in the following over off Broad.
Broad’s response was immediate as he sent down a perfect outswinger next ball that Smith could only snick behind, with Prior taking a marvellous one-handed catch diving full-length to his left in front of first slip.
Smith’s departure for nine left the Proteas tottering on 25 for two and Broad soon snaffled his and England’s third wicket when Kallis (six) flashed a pacy delivery into the hands of a jubilant Owais Shah at first slip just a run later.
JP Duminy became a rampant Broad’s fourth wicket, edging to Prior as another South African perished to a waft outside off stump.
The left-hander had flashed a pair of boundaries but fell to his third ball to leave South Africa in the mire at 36 for four.
Flintoff’s introduction heralded another dismissal as South Africa’s dressing room bore a passing resemblance to a revolving door, with AB de Villiers departing lbw for five after being beaten for pace and by movement off the seam.
Flintoff added the scalp of Boucher for 10 shortly afterwards when he had him caught behind from an indecisive back foot prod.
The wicket left South Africa in dire straights on 50 for six after 17 overs, and Broad heaped on yet more misery on them when he had Johan Botha again caught by Prior in his final over.
Broad’s figures would have looked even better had Andre Nel not swatted him for a brace of boundaries late on.
Nel’s quickfire innings came to a predictable conclusion when Steve Harmison picked him up first ball, Luke Wright gathering a skied catch at mid-on following an ugly swipe.
Nel’s 13 was the highest score in the South Africa innings but there was little time for him or anyone else to acknowledge the fact as Harmison, having been swung away to the boundary by Albie Morkel the previous ball, made it two wickets in the over - and six catches in total for Prior - four balls later.
South Africa’s final pairing of Makhaya Ntini and Dale Steyn, brought together with just 72 on the board, enjoyed a brief spell of respite as the latter managed a slashing boundary off Flintoff before the same bowler clattered a yorker into his stumps to end the innings.
England’s reply was brisk and ruthlessly effective, with Bell and Prior taking the chance to inflict a psychological hammering on South Africa’s attack.
Prior began aggressively and had hit three pleasing fours before he nailed Ntini over long-off for a maximum.
Bell was harsh on anything over-pitched, while Prior was also in good nick and beautifully pushed Nel back down the ground for four in the 11th over.
Bell followed that up with a brace of imperious back-foot shots for four in Steyn’s following over.
It was left to Prior to finish things off with an emphatic pull to the rope off Nel that signalled a victory for England in a match which, having started at 2:30, finished at 5:39 pm.