Rain yesterday kept Stuart Broad waiting for his 500th Test wicket as bad weather frustrated England’s bid for a series-clinching win over the West Indies at Old Trafford in Manchester.
Play was due to start at 11am on the fourth day of the decisive third Test, but persistent rain meant the pitch and square remained fully covered, and there was no play before lunch, with a fresh, heavy downpour in Manchester shortly before the scheduled interval further hampering prospects of action in the afternoon session.
Broad is just one wicket away from becoming only the seventh bowler to join the “500 club” after taking all six West Indies wickets that fell on Sunday.
The 34-year-old paceman returned first-innings figures of 6-31 as the West Indies were bundled out for 197 in reply to England’s 369, which included Broad’s dashing 62.
After England made 226-2 declared in their second innings, featuring Rory Burns’ 90, and half-centuries from captain Joe Root and Dom Sibley, there was still time for Broad to reduce the tourists, who had no answer to his late movement off a good length, to 10-2 at stumps on the third day.
Broad had the struggling John Campbell caught at first slip for a duck by Root and then moved to 499 Test wickets when nightwatchman Kemar Roach was caught behind.
Broad bowled the final over of the day’s play, with his final ball just missing Shai Hope’s outside-edge.
The only bowlers with more than 600 Test wickets are a trio of former spinners — Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Australia’s Shane Warne (708) and India’s Anil Kumble (619).
The only seamers ahead of Broad are his longtime England new-ball colleague James Anderson (589), and the retired pair of Australia’s Glenn McGrath (563) and the West Indies’ Courtney Walsh (519).
Broad took all the West Indies wickets to fall on Sunday in a combined return of 6-22 in seven overs, with his burst of 4-11 in 22 balls ending the visitors’ first innings after they had avoided the follow-on.
“It’s a pretty ridiculous achievement to get to 500 [wickets],” Burns said. “Hopefully, we can keep grabbing them for him.”
West Indies coach Phil Simmons once again bemoaned the failure of his team’s batsmen to back up the bowlers in a grueling schedule of three back-to-back Tests that marks international cricket’s return from the COVID-19 suspension.
“We haven’t had any centuries in the series,” Simmons said. “There are two days left to bat and someone needs to get themselves a big hundred. There is plenty of time in the game so we need to be more determined to get big scores.”
West Indies wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich was hit in the face by a Shannon Gabriel delivery that burst through his gloves and he had to leave the field.
“He was lucky it came off the gloves first,” Simmons said. “He has a little cut on the inside of his lip, but no damage to his teeth.”
One-day international wicketkeeper Hope initially took over behind the stumps, before Joshua da Silva, the backup wicketkeeper in the Test squad, was allowed to take the gloves. Da Silva nearly stumped Burns, on 12, off Chase, but slipped as he tried to take off the bails.
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