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Broad’s 5 wickets silence the hostile Ashes crowd

November 21, 2013

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Stuart Broad picked up a copy of the local tabloid to take into his news conference, just for a laugh after day one of the Ashes.

In the week leading up to the first test at the Gabba, the newspaper had launched a campaign targeting Broad and batsman Kevin Pietersen and aimed at whipping up some sentiment against an England squad that has beaten Australia in the last three series.

It backfired spectacularly, with Broad snaring five wickets Thursday including a perfectly executed short ball to pick up the prize wicket of Australia captain Michael Clarke for the sixth time in five tests.

“I saw this outside and it made me smile,” Broad said, gesturing toward the circled and crossed front-page photo and comments.

The newspaper had urged fans to join the “Broad ban,” and give him the “silent treatment” rather than any extra motivation by cheering against him.

But he was loudly booed before bowling his first delivery, a no-ball that was dispatched to the boundary by David Warner to start the second over.

What did silence the capacity crowd was what happened next: Broad snared the first four wickets to have Australia reeling at 83-4 just after the lunch interval, then came back to break up a rearguard partnership in the evening to claim his 11th five-wicket haul in tests.

“It was something a bit different but I think I coped with it OK,” Broad said of the crowd and the media treatment, adding that he was glad his mother wasn’t in the stadium to hear some of the juicier comments. “It’s all good banter. Fans come, they like to have a beer with their mates and sing along, but they want to see good cricket.

“To be able to come here and pick up wickets like I did today and as a team to stamp our authority on the series like we have today, that’s all we’re here for.”

Broad has come in for heavy criticism in Australia for refusing to walk when he knew he was out at a critical juncture in the last series. At that time, he waited for the umpire’s decision — as 99 percent of batsmen do — and then kept playing when he was ruled not out despite replays showing he’d edged a ball that was caught at slip. It was one of the most glaring umpiring decisions in a series blighted by them.

It didn’t help matters when Broad later said he knew he was out but couldn’t understand what the backlash was about, or that Australia coach Darren Lehmann used a radio interview to urge the Australian public to give Broad grief during this series.

The usual hype of an Ashes series has been raised since England landed in Australia with a chance of winning the urn for a fourth consecutive series.

The Australian players and domestic media have been building up the test team in the three months since England completed the 3-0 series win in England, reporting a more settled and confident combination.

The English squad, meanwhile, has been comparatively quiet.

“We’ve got a lot of experience in that dressing room and we almost felt a bit like silent assassins on this trip,” he said. “We were just going under the radar, all the attention had been on the Australians.

“That was perfect for us, it meant we could just get on with our business and get ready. Now we’re in for the fight. It’s a relief we’ve actually started the series quite well, we’d usually be under the eight ball by now so we’re delighted in that changing room.”

Australia finished the day at 273-8, with Broad returning 5-65 from 20 overs. It was his fifth five-wicket haul of the year.

“I didn’t actually feel that good today — it was just one of those days when the wickets came to me,” he said. “I didn’t bowl particularly well in the morning session. I think getting (Clarke) out gave me a bit of a lift.

“I wouldn’t class it as one of my better five-fors from a bowling point of view, but I would say I would class it as my best in terms of the scenario, day and experience.”

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