It is nice getting my 600th wicket from the James Anderson End: Broad

The right-arm pacer is only the fifth player to achieve this milestone and joins his new-ball partner James Anderson in this elite list

Self-proclaimed Test ‘addict’ Stuart Broad said he felt proud to be alongside some of cricket’s greatest bowlers after becoming just the fifth man to take 600 Test wickets.

The veteran England seamer elevated himself to the elite company by dismissing Australia’s Travis Head on the opening day of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Broad joined Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (800 Test wickets), Australia’s Shane Warne (708), England’s James Anderson (688) and India’s Anil Kumble (619) in a select quintet.

The right-arm pacer started his 166th Test on 598 wickets this match, having already dismissed Australia opener David Warner 17 times at this level. The 37-year-old Broad had Usman Khawaja lbw for three to leave Australia 15-1 after Ben Stokes won the toss and opted to field. 

Broad had to wait until the first over after tea for the landmark wicket, with Head hooking a bouncer caught by Joe Root at fine leg. There were no more wickets for Broad on Wednesday as he returned figures of 2-68 in 14 overs.

“It was a pretty decent day, and there is something nice about getting a 600th wicket from the James Anderson End,” Broad told Sky Sports after achieving his landmark feat on the Lancashire home ground of his longtime team-mate. 

“It’s a very special feeling. When I went past Glenn McGrath, my hero growing up, that was really cool,” said Broad as he reflected on surpassing the Australia pace great’s tally of 563 Test wickets.

The two wickets on the first day also helped the England speedster go past Ian Botham as England’s leading Test bowler against Australia with 150 wickets.

“I remember getting my cap from Ian Botham in Colombo in 2007. I never felt that Test cricket was the dream, but having an impact on it. I suppose it’s a thing of longevity, and I am addicted to Test cricket. I like the grit and competitive nature of it. It’s great to be on that list with some of the greats of the game.”

Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne, who made 51 on Wednesday before falling lbw to spinner Moeen Ali, said Broad’s “statistics speak for themselves” as he praised his endurance and skill.

“We know that if conditions are good for bowling, Broad is always going to be a handful. But he’s shown through the series and through his career that when it’s not, he can still keep it tight, wait for his opportunity and work a batter out.”

Broad’s trademark has been an ability to turn a game on its head with match-winning bursts, as he’s taken five or more wickets 20 times in a Test innings. The most celebrated example was his outstanding 8-15 at Trent Bridge during England’s 2015 Ashes triumph.

Four-time Ashes series-winner Broad, asked if playing against Australia brought the best out of him, replied: “I think so. I like the extra scrutiny and how much the public in England and Australia love it,” he concluded. 

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