Stuart Broad was at a loss to explain England’s failure to bowl out the West Indies on day two of the second Test, after beating the bat over 100 times.
The hosts closed on 272 for six in Antigua, an ominous lead of 85 as they attempt to wrap up the three-match series 2-0 on a lively surface.
England dropped four catches – two regulation slip chances for Jos Buttler and more understandable spills from Keaton Jennings and Rory Burns – but even so, Broad could not believe more batsmen did not succumb in bowler-friendly conditions.
He was comfortably the pick of the attack with three for 42, with both of Buttler’s errors against his account, and revealed team analysts had tallied over a century of false shots in 90 overs.
“I feel a bit lost as to how we only got six wickets, to be brutally honest. There were 103 plays and misses in the day,” he said.
“I can’t think of any more in any Test I’ve played in. We’ve put everything into it, heart and soul.
“It hasn’t really gone our way, I certainly thought we deserved more than six wickets, but cricket doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes it turns against you.”
As well as cursing bad luck, Broad accepted England were complicit in their own downfall. Buttler will take the brunt of any criticism for his pair of drops, which were only partially offset by two successful takes, but it has been some time since the cordon felt entirely secure.
“It’s somewhere we’ve got to improve. It’s been a running theme over the last couple of years that we’re putting down quite big chances,” said Broad.
“I was really, really fortunate at the start of my career to play with Andrew Strauss, Graeme Swann and Paul Collingwood as a three. They were such natural catchers and I can’t really think of them putting any down.
“But we’ve had quite a change of personnel in the team and not really had a settled slip cordon, but the guys work so hard it’s certainly not for a lack of trying.”
Broad refused to accept England were heading towards dire straits in the match, insisting the unpredictable pitch at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium could make batting last a perilous business.
“If we get 140 (ahead) I’d fancy our chances on the last day,” he suggested.
“I think we’ve got a great shout in this Test match. The score looks away from us at the moment but you only need someone to get one really good score.
“When I look at it as a team-mate and a fan I look at the likes of (Jonny) Bairstow, (Ben) Stokes, Buttler, Moeen (Ali) … any of these guys could take the game away from the West Indies. But to allow them to do that someone has to get stuck in at the top of the order and build a platform.”News Now - Sport News