Friday was yet another enthralling day of test cricket. In the new crash, bang, wallop era it was the sort of day that proves that the test format is still the pinnacle of cricket.
In the morning the headlines belonged to Mohammad Amir for his remarkable one man show bowling performance, and to Kevin Pietersen for his now, more than troublesome batting frailties.
Then after lunch Jonathan Trott and Stuart Broad took over with magnificent centuries. Trott showed the sort of discipline and attitude that England’s batsmen consistently lack, and as the partnership developed you could see these attributes rubbing off on Broad.
Any doubts over Trott’s place in the side when Bell returns are now dead and buried. He always seemed the odd man out to me, I always had the impression he had to do more than the likes of Bell, Morgan and Collingwood to keep his place. His place is now in no doubt, Jonathan Agnew described it as by far his best innings, even better than his debut century at the Oval last year to help England win the Ashes. Thats some accolade.
Stuart Broad seemed to be going down the well trodden route of prospective all-rounder, to just being a bowler who could throw the bat a bit. One century dosen’t make him a number 6, but it does show that there is still plenty to work with.
This wasn’t a fluke innings, it wasn’t one of those times when a tailender just throws the bat with no pressure and it comes off, it was a proper innings. When Broad came out to bat the whole series had just about been thrown away by England. Broad responded with remarkable fighting spirit. And lets remember he hasn’t just smacked some average bowling attack around, this isn’t Bangladesh, this Pakistani attack can stand alongside any in world cricket.
While England’s batting frailties were there to be seen again yesterday, the positives to take from this (and there are some positives this time, Michael Vaughan) are that England fought back from the brink of defeat in a manner we aren’t used to seeing from them. Both these centuries counted, the whole summers work was just about to be undone before Trott and Broad intervened, they were proper test match, high pressure innings.
In a match that has already swung one way and then the other, it will be interesting to see if Pakistan can fight back again. If not for their own pride, the Pakistan players owe it to Mohammad Amir to make a match of this. This young man deserves as much credit as Trott and Broad have received, any other day and he would have been the headline maker.
His efforts shouldn’t be overshadowed. He looked a decent prospect in Australia last winter, he has now shown during this English summer that he is already the real deal. Yesterdays showing was the culmination of an impressive summers all-round cricket from the youngster, and he has now already got his name on the Lord’s Honours Board, and probably not for the last time either.