Stuart Broad insists England remain positive but conceded they need “a great couple of days” in the first Test against South Africa to continue their winning streak in red ball cricket.
Ben Stokes provided a much-needed comeback in the evening session on day two at Lord’s after Sarel Erwee’s 73er threatened to take the match away from the hosts.
South Africa had reached 187 for three – in response to England’s 165 – only for Stokes to pull his team back into the mix with two wickets in seven balls and a third late.
The Proteas finished the day with 289 for seven and have a 124-run lead, but Broad thinks there’s still plenty to play for.
“Anything over 150 on days four and five, you have a chance if you bowl great and create pressure,” Broad said.
“We feel like tomorrow is a day to win and we can come back and attack him.
“We have a real feeling that we are still in this game. I know South Africa is about 120 points ahead, but there were undoubtedly pretty good hitting conditions, especially when the ball got softer, so let’s push that further.
“If you get out relatively cheaply in the first innings, you have to make it a game between the first and fourth innings. We need to try to get enough forward that we can try and defend on days four and five on a relatively dry pitch.
“The game is really well built. Of course we’re going to have a great few days, but we proved this summer that anything can happen, so we’re feeling really positive in the dressing room that we’re back in the game.”
Despite apparently having a problem with his left knee, Stokes made himself enforcer during the evening session and it paid off.
The England captain beat Erwee during a devilish spell of two wickets in seven ball that was also credited to Rassie van der Dussen.
Erwee had put up 85 for the first wicket with Dean Elgar to help the tourists maintain their dominance after taking barely an hour to bowl England from their overnight total of 116 for six.
Broad said of his skipper: “He’s fine. I think his knee just pops a little every now and then but he seems to be dealing with it and he’s pretty tough when it comes to things like that.
“He has an inspirational style in what he does. It’s full of action, isn’t it? He actually wanted to bowl from the Nursery End, he’s not a big fan of the Pavilion End because it draws him too close to the stump.
“We had to talk him into it a little bit but once he settled down and started moving it took us a couple of breakthroughs and the bouncer to get rid of the opener was a blast. You can’t play this.
“I thought that got us moving, that was a really big wicket. It gave us a bit of energy, got the crowd going and that’s what these players are doing.
“I haven’t seen Ian Botham that much, but (with) Andrew Flintoff and they put bums in seats because you want to see these guys and the theater they bring. I thought Stokesy did great theatre.”
Broad himself got Kyle Verreynne to push back for his 100th Test wicket at Lord’s while Leach, Matthew Potts and James Anderson all claimed scalps.
The latter celebrated his first Test wicket since turning 40 earlier this month and his accomplice supported him to continue.
He added: “It’s really something special to see. I look at Jimmy and he hasn’t really changed physically since he was 35.
“As long as he keeps that competitive spirit and that joy, he can go as long as he wants.”
Kagiso Rabada took three quick scalps, including Ollie Pope for 73 to earn a five-wicket haul that put him on the Lord’s Honors board.
Erwee then helped the Proteas extend their strong position before an entertaining 72-run stand for the seventh wicket between Marco Jansen and Keshav Maharaj again changed the momentum before Stokes rebounded the latter for 41.
Erwee said: “We got a bit of momentum with that partnership at the back end and with one of our bowlers getting a five-fer. If we rock back up with the same energy, I’m sure we’ll come out on top.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket/ben-stokes-england-south-africa-stuart-broad-lord-b2148094.html Stuart Broad thinks England have fought back in the first Test