Rory Burns hailed Stuart Broad’s “ridiculous achievement” as the veteran England paceman closed in on his 500th Test wicket after leaving the West Indies reeling at Old Trafford.
Broad took all the West Indies wickets to fall on Sunday in a combined return of six for 22 that took him to 499 wickets in Test cricket.
It also meant England were well-placed to press for victory in the deciding fixture of a three-match series currently all square at 1-1.
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Broad rips through Windies
“It’s a pretty ridiculous achievement to get to 500 (Test wickets),” said opening batsman Burns, with Broad on the brink of becoming just the seventh bowler — and only the fourth seamer after longtime England new-ball partner James Anderson, Glenn McGrath and Courtney Walsh — to achieve the feat.
“I’ll be standing at gully and hopefully I’m going to catch it if he gets a nick.” Burns added: “It’s a nice place to be when his tail is up and he’s bowling like this.
“You feel every ball is going to come to you. We’ll be standing there waiting to catch it.”
Former England captain Michael Atherton said that the 34-year-old will already be aiming for his next milestone in terms of Test scalps.
“Broad made the point that he’s actually quite a bit younger than James Anderson. Of course everyone brackets Broad and Anderson together because they’ve played together for so long. But he’s actually four years younger and he’s said, ‘if Jimmy can go on to almost 38, why can’t I?’. If he does, it’ll be a remarkable achievement,” Atherton told Sky Sports.
Broad blasts Windies with bat
“Clearly Stuart Broad, with that fire in the belly he showed, has got more to come and he doesn’t just want to get 500 wickets – he wants to get up to 600 as well.
“True, he’s not going to get anywhere near Muttiah Muralitharan at 800 but just to be the fourth fast bowler to get 500 wickets would show remarkable longevity and stamina.
“He’s had a body that’s enabled him to do it and central contracts have helped as well – he doesn’t play white-ball and he doesn’t play much county cricket now either.”
At stumps on the third day, the West Indies were 10-2 chasing a huge target of 399 following England’s second-innings 226-2 declared.
Burns weighed in with a valuable 90 after he shared a stand of 114 with Dom Sibley (56) — England’s first century opening partnership in a home Test since Alastair Cook and Alex Hales put on 126 against Pakistan at Edgbaston in 2016.