Back returning Broad to be the toast of Trent Bridge

IT WILL be 51 years ago next week that Fred Trueman became the first cricketer to take 300 Test wickets when he had Australia’s Neil Hawke caught at slip by Colin Cowdrey.

More than half a century later Stuart Broad stands on the edge of greatness too, needing just one more scalp to become the fifth Englishman to achieve the same feat.

Whichever Australian follows Hawke into the history books will give Broad his 54th wicket on his home ground in eight Tests at an impressive average of 19.24.

Yet, in order to claim the record, he will have to do so without James Anderson by his side for the first time in a Test match since June 2011 and only the fifth occasion in his career.

Like Broad’s family, Anderson will be watching from the Trent Bridge stands after a side strain picked up in Birmingham forced him to sit out the fourth match of this intriguing series.

At Edgbaston it was a rejuvenated Steven Finn who proved to be England’s hero with the ball, returning match figures of 8/117 in a storybook comeback, following his wretched time Down Under. This time the stage is set for Broad.

The 29-year-old is 11/4 to be England’s top bowler and a tempting 14/1 to be Man of the Match. Should he manage the former, he stands a reasonable chance of the latter.

There’s every possibility that the player who’ll hand him his landmark dismissal will be Michael Clarke, who he snared in the second innings in Cardiff.

The Aussie skipper has managed a paltry 94 runs in six innings in this series at an average of just 18.80 and is 8/1 with Betway to be Broad’s 300th victim.

It is a sad decline for a player who carried himself with such dignity in the wake of Phil Hughes’s untimely death last November.

But, as he knows more than most, there is little room for sentiment in international sport.

Sporting Index are taking no chances with his match runs, yet even at 68 they still look like a sell to me.

If Broad is on the rise, Clarke is on the wane. We’re unlikely to see him at this level for much longer.

■ Pointers…
Stuart Broad to be England’s top bowler 11/4 with Betway
Sell Michael Clarke runs at 68 with Sporting Index