Stuart Broad admitted that his “addiction” to Test cricket has seen him hit 600 wickets, a prestigious milestone which he enjoyed further after reaching it in the final named after James Anderson.
The English pair are great friends, longtime opening bowling partners and now the only non-spinners to have reached the milestone, which has only been reached by three other people in history.
Broad’s moment came just after tea on the first day of the fourth Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford, when Travis Head recklessly hooked a bumper and Joe Root gobbled up a low catch deep.
“Never in my dreams did I think that would be a thing,” Broad said. “Sounds good, taking my 600th James Anderson End wicket. There’s something very special about that.”
After Australia closed at 299 for eight, Broad reflected on his insatiable ambition which blossomed in the Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum axis, under whom he has taken 87 wickets in 14 Tests, having previously feared for his international future after being passed by high for the Caribbean tour in March 2022.
“I definitely have an addiction to Test cricket and its competitive side,” Broad said. “Ultimately, Baz and Stokesy have given me a new lease on life in a way.
“It’s such a free locker room. There is no fear of failure or judgment, it is about moving the game forward and that suits me. I owe a lot in the last 14 months to the way Baz and Stokes have brought energy to the group.
“I’ve been able to match that and move forward as a player. I’ve found it really enjoyable, I’d say it’s been the most enjoyable year of my Test career, which is an incredible thing to say at 37 years old.
Head’s dismissal was also significant for Broad as he went on to 149 Test wickets against Australia, a record for an England bowler, eclipsing Sir Ian Botham’s previous benchmark.
A four-time Ashes winner, Broad revealed his perspective was formed by watching Australia’s dominance over England in the 1990s and early 2000s, which was finally broken during a pivotal series in 2005.
“I grew up completely obsessed with watching Ashes cricket and I guess that’s why some of my heroes are Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, some of the great Australian team,” Broad said.
“As a child you are influenced by winning sides. It also increased my bravery to want to be part of the England teams that could win the ashes after spending a whole childhood without us lifting them.
“I probably grew up with a bit more of an Australian mentality rather than a kind of ’90s English mentality.”
Broad has been an ever present in these Ashes, and was expected to take a backseat due to the packed schedule, but has risen to the challenge as the series leader.
“His stats speak for themselves,” Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne said. “We know that if the conditions are good for bowling, it’s always going to be a problem.
“But he’s shown through the series and through his career that when he’s not, he can still hold his ground, wait for his chance and work like a hitter.”
Chris Woakes continues to excel on his Test return, following an all-around stellar performance on his return at Headingley with figures of four for 52 which on another day would have taken first place.
“An England Test team with Chris Woakes in England is quite a formidable team,” Broad added. “He was exceptional and deserves five in the morning, hopefully.
“We all know how talented Chris Woakes has been and how helpful he has been to English cricket. He is a joy to play with and knows exactly what he is doing. He has been exceptional since he returned to Leeds.”