Cricket: Broad is lauded by Cook as England triumph

Captain Alastair Cook was left to sing the praises of Stuart Broad after the England fast bowler tore the heart out of Australia and fast-tracked England to a memorable Ashes series win late on day four of the fourth Investec Test at Chester-le-Street.

England's Stuart Broad celebrates victory over Australia.

Australia initially seemed well-placed in their pursuit of 299 before England, led by Broad, shot out nine wickets in an elongated and dramatic final session.

Broad claimed six of the wickets to fall – to return match figures of 11-121 – as Australia slumped in the face of one of the unplayable spells upon which the right-armer has built his reputation.

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Four years ago, Broad fired England to Ashes success in similar circumstances at the Kia Oval and yesterday’s performance was no less dramatic, highlighted by his dismissal of Michael Clarke.

Broad produced a leg-cutter with the first ball after the final drinks break which thudded into Clarke’s off-stump and, with the Australia captain still pressed forward in defence, sparked wild celebrations.

It also prompted a startling collapse as Australia, who had begun at a canter thanks to an opening stand of 109 between David Warner (71) and Chris Rogers (49), lost their last eight wickets for 56 runs.

Broad fittingly completed the job, at 7.41pm in descending gloom, when Peter Siddle chipped to James Anderson at mid-off, to secure a 74-run win which moved England into an unassailable 3-0 series lead.

“Words can’t justify how good a spell of bowling that was,” Cook said.

“It was a fine spell of bowling. That’s probably not the right adjective either.

“As a captain and knowing how important that session was – if we lost that session we would have been struggling.

“Broady knew that and the lads knew that. He really charged in.

“When everything clicks and bowling in the high 80s with the control Broady has it’s incredibly hard to bat.”

Cook admitted he had started to fret about his side’s chances when Warner and Rogers put on the first century opening stand of the series.

Australia had still even seemed favourites when Warner fell to Yorkshire’s Tim Bresnan, who worked in tandem with Broad, with seven wickets still in hand and 131 required.

“Fair play to Chris and David, they batted very well although if we are totally honest we didn’t quite get it right with the ball,” Cook said.

“We knew when you are chasing 300 runs in the last innings you have to keep the belief. At one stage you are thinking, ‘Is it ever going to happen?’

“When we got that third wicket (Warner) and we then had the two right-handers in, the ‘big man’ here did his stuff.”

Contented Broad admitted he had got by on emotion as victory loomed and thanked Bresnan for his part, after the Yorkshireman battled away into the wind.

“It was definitely adrenaline,” he said. “It was a very special afternoon. We gathered ourselves at tea with Australia having won that session without doubt.

“At the start of that period Bressy and I got together and said, ‘Come on, we can really put the squeeze on here’.

“I think we gave away far too many four balls in that middle session and we tried to cut those out. Once we got one wicket the crowd got behind us and with that the team were really lifted.”

Victory was England’s third successive Ashes series win – the first time they have managed the feat since 1981 – while it also completed a personal hat-trick for Broad.

“As players we have a real determination to win an Ashes series,” he said.

“The guys are very proud in that dressing room. There’s a group in there who have won three from three and there is a real hunger in there to achieve more.

“There are one or two in there who could become the leading (series winners) ever in the Ashes which is a special era to play in.”

England greeted the retention of the Ashes last week with muted celebrations after the rained-off draw at Manchester. But after the emotion of yesterday afternoon Cook admitted the time was now right to pop the champagne corks on his first Ashes series win as a captain.

“Nine wickets in a session, the crowd, the excitement and the nerves at the beginning – it is the moment (to celebrate),” he said.

“We are going to get greedy and try and repeat that at The Oval, but we can think about that with sore heads (today).

“We’ll enjoy what is a very special day and one that I’m going to look back on with huge fondness.”

England had been bowled out for 330 as Ryan Harris took two wickets in two balls on his way to career-best figures of 7-117, but Bresnan’s telling counter-attack helped England add a combined 66 for the eighth and ninth wickets.

Bresnan produced a rush of boundaries – striking three in succession off Jackson Bird at one stage – on his way to making 45.