July 27, 2020 / 7:49 PM / 14 days ago

Broad waits for chance to take 500th test victim

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - When Stuart Broad wakes up in his pitchside hotel room at Old Trafford on Tuesday, he will be hoping the rain stays away so that England get a chance to bowl at West Indies on the final day of the three-test series.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Third Test - England v West Indies - Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - July 26, 2020 England's Stuart Broad celebrates taking the wicket of West Indies' John Campbell with teammates, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Martin Rickett/Pool via REUTERS

After taking eight wickets in the match so far, Broad has frustratingly been left stuck on 499 test scalps for at least 40 hours thanks to Monday’s washout.

Weather permitting, on Tuesday he will be eager to become only the seventh man, and second England bowler after James Anderson, to claim at least 500 test wickets.

Broad took the first two wickets of West Indies’ second innings in the gloom on Sunday night to leave them reeling at 10-2 as they chase an improbable target of 399.

Monday’s rain kept the players inside their biosecure bubble at the hotel, which overlooks the ground, but the weather is expected to clear enough on Tuesday to give the 34-year-old his opportunity to help England win the series.

Controversially omitted from the first test at Southampton, Broad returned to assume a leading role in the second test victory and has gone on to put England in a strong position in the final match.

It has not only been a statement to the selectors but also a reminder of his strong will to win, as England supporters know only too well from the 2015 Ashes series when he took 8-15 at Trent Bridge with Australia bowled out for 60.

The ignominy of being dropped had left him angry and frustrated.

“I don’t think I’ve got anything to prove. England know what I can do, the selectors know what I can do and when I get that opportunity again you can bet I’ll be on the money,” he said.

And so it proved, as he bludgeoned a 33-ball 50 in England’s first innings. He then took six wickets in the West Indies’ first innings to leave them 172 runs adrift of England.

Once the lead reached 399, West Indies were put into bat again with Broad stepping up once more to claim two more wickets.

If the weather plays its part on Tuesday, he will be eager to turn his torment of just a fortnight ago into real delight.

Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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