Stuart Broad has urged England to thrive on growing Ashes hostility and ‘bring the fire’ to Headingley as they seek a historic fightback.
Broad was in the thick of the tensions which spilled over into the Long Room on the final day of the second Test at Lord’s, entering the fray after the controversial stumping of Jonny Bairstow.
The 37-year-old was heard on the on-field microphone labelling the incident ‘the worst thing I’ve seen in cricket’ as the tourists went on to seal a 43-run victory which put one hand on the urn.
No side has come from 2-0 down to win an Ashes series since an Australia team containing Don Bradman in 1936/37 but Broad remains convinced England have what it takes.
“We won three Tests in a row against New Zealand last year and Pakistan in December, so it’s certainly something we can do,” he said.
“Both Tests so far could have gone either way amid the drama and theatrics. Each player probably has a bit more performance in them, I know I certainly do, and we will jump on the energy the crowds will bring us.
“Leeds is always a great atmosphere and we need to ride that wave, bring a lot of energy and bring a lot of fire. Their actions at Lord’s caused tension and we can use that to our advantage.
“It’s not as if the games have been a landslide and people are getting frustrated.
“People are loving the way we are playing cricket and there is a genuine belief we can get something out this series.
“I feel like we have the backing of a nation to continue playing in our style and there will be one message for Leeds, which will be to go even harder and be as positive as possible.”
Broad is the leading wicket taker on either side after two Tests, with 11 scalps to his name, and now sits third in the all-time Ashes list.
He reiterated his captain Ben Stokes’ belief Australia should have withdrawn their appeal following Bairstow’s dismissal but would not be drawn on whether England will change their approach to such issues in the remainder of the series, which resumes on Thursday.
“The spirit of cricket has a lot of grey areas,” he said. “Ultimately, both teams are there to win and play tough cricket that entertains the crowd and grows the game.
“I don’t know if Jonny’s dismissal provided any of that. I didn’t see any advantage being gained and it was a pretty easy option, a good option, for Australia to withdraw the appeal.
“They chose not to and I would have thought they might be re-thinking how they feel about that now, but that’s up to them.
“The great thing about sport is everyone has different opinions, and the Ashes enhances that, but you could tell by the reaction of Lord’s where most people’s opinions were on it.”
Broad was speaking to launch the Sage Small Business XI competition, which will see one lucky small business owner receive free advertising and business advice worth £60,000 and an opportunity to be part of The Hundred in 2024.
The England paceman is again set to be part of the commentary team for this summer’s competition and has been impressed by its impact to date.
“It has been an entertaining tournament, which you always get with quality players, and it has brought different eyes to the sport,” added Broad, a small business owner himself alongside former England teammate Harry Gurney.
“You never know how good cricket is until you try it – how good it feels to hit the middle of the bat, take a one-handed catch or knock for stump out the ground.
“I’ve seen the amount of kids who are really enjoying it and the more opportunities there are for kids to play, the more our sport will grow.”
The Sage Small Business XI competition will see a small business owner be part of The Hundred as well as winning a boost to their business worth £60k. Enter now at www.sage.co.uk/TheHundred