“TURN up the heat on Australia’s batsmen” was the match-changing instruction from England captain Alastair Cook that sealed the Ashes series win at Durham yesterday, according to bowler Stuart Broad.
The tourists, chasing 299 to win, were going along comfortably at 147-1 in the final session before Broad (6-50) blew away the middle order and Australia collapsed to a 74-run defeat.
The 27-year-old finished with 11 wickets for the match to move England 3-0 up with one Test to play and praised Cook for his change of approach after tea.
“We lacked a bit of intensity in the middle and Cookie threw me the ball and said ‘let’s spice it up a bit’,” said Broad. “It was amazing. I found a rhythm at the end, I had the wind helping me get the ball moving away from the right-handers.
“Batsmen coming in scored well, but it was hard to start on there and once we got a wicket we could put pressure on the Australia batsmen.”
Australia captain Michael Clarke, however, was left to rue what might have been as his side now go to the Oval for the fifth and final Test yet to register a win in the series.
“To only lose by 75 runs we can take some positives, but our batting in the middle order wasn’t good enough,” he said. “It was a pretty good batting wicket once we got through the new ball. It was always going to be a tough chase, but it we played like we did in Manchester [third Test] we’d have had a good shot at winning a Test match.
“I don’t want to take anything away from England though. Stuart Broad was outstanding in both innings.”
England resumed day four on 234-5, but soon lost Ian Bell (113) who clipped a Ryan Harris (7-117) delivery onto his stumps.
Matt Prior did the same from the next ball and Australia looked in control, but a valuable knock of 45 from Tim Bresnan and 30 off 24 balls from Graeme Swann saw England eventually bowled out for 330.
Australia made a storming start in reply, with Chris Rogers (49) and David Warner (71) putting on 109 for the first wicket partnership.
And Clarke’s men looked most likely to win the match going into tea on 120-1, but Broad and Bresnan (2-36) proved virtually unplayable.
Broad took all six of his wickets in a 45-ball spell, conceding just 20 runs, as a stunned Australia were bowled out for 224.