Stuart Broad insists England have all the momentum heading into the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford following their stunning one-wicket win at Headingley.
Ben Stokes’s heroics ensured the series is locked up at 1-1 ahead of the Manchester showdown, which gets under way on Wednesday, and Broad believes Australia may struggle to overcome the disappointment of such a gut-wrenching defeat.
“Australia will have 99 per cent felt they were regaining the Ashes with 70 runs needed at Headingley,” Broad said.
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Cricket: Australian batsman Steve Smith gets a net session in ahead of the critical fourth Ashes test at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
“Stokesy and (Jack) Leachy’s partnership was one of the greatest partnerships English cricket has seen.
“Australia had a really poor hour and they’ll probably reflect on that and think they got quite a few things wrong.
“Obviously the momentum of that Test shifted and with that the series. We’ve come here enjoying what happened last week but knowing it’s gone but not forgetting about it.
“We can take a lot of energy, a lot of spirit from the way we stayed in that Test throughout.
“We had a terrible first-innings batting display of 60-odd but to keep going and fight our way back into that game … I can genuinely say we never felt out of that game or out of the battle.”
Victory or avoiding defeat in the final two Tests will see Australia win an away Ashes series for the first time in 18 years but Broad believes the scars of that final hour in Yorkshire will be hard for the tourists to forget.
“The language they will have been using is ‘let’s forget about it quickly and move on’,” Broad said.
“Any loss hangs over you for a period of time. But a loss where you feel like you could have, or should have, won is obviously going to stay with you.”
Cricket: Australian batsman Usman Khawaja is the man who will make way for the returning Steve Smith at Old Trafford, having failed to impress in the Ashes series thus far.
Broad has enjoyed a fine series, taking 14 wickets at just over 25 and dismissing David Warner four times in six innings.
The 33-year-old admits the former Australian vice-captain has had the better of him in previous Ashes series but said Warner’s battling 60 in overcast conditions in Headingley showed he is edging back to his best.
“The bloke has got incredible hand-eye coordination so if you missed your line at all it seems to disappear through the covers,” Broad said. “The pitches have been in our favour with the new ball so I don’t want to take too much credit that I’ve out-thought him or anything – it’s the fact that it’s been a really good time to bowl with that new ball.
“Credit to Warner at Headingley, that morning was probably as good a time to bowl as you’ll ever get in Test cricket: cloudy, heavy, swinging, seaming.
“He might have played and missed a lot but he got through that period and got a pretty crucial fifty. He’ll take confidence from that.”
Australia coach Justin Langer also believes Warner is in the right head space to produce a series-defining innings despite having never scored a century in England.
“One great David Warner innings could certainly retain the Ashes for us in my view,” Langer said.
“He’s just working hard, we work hard with all the players to make sure they’re ready for this Test match.”
Originally published as ‘They got things wrong’: Broad’s pot shot at poor Aussies