CAPTAIN Andrew Strauss leapt to the defence of hot-headed Stuart Broad after leading England to a comfortable nine-wicket win over Pakistan in the second Test at Edgbaston.
Seamer Broad was fined 50 per cent of his match fee (around £3,000) after petulantly throwing the ball at batsman Zulqarnain Haider and hitting him on the shoulder.
And after steering England to a 2-0 series lead with an unbeaten half-century, Strauss was quick to show support to his “maturing” bowler.
“He understood that he overstepped the mark and he has paid the price for it,” the skipper said.
“Over the summer he has been outstanding in terms of the way he has gone about his business, so let us just hope this is a one-off incident.
“He is maturing and when you mature you learn from mistakes.”
Broad had earlier finished off the Pakistan second innings with the final wicket of Mohammad Asif which dismissed the tourists for 296 and left England with a victory target of 118.
But what should have been a routine run chase suffered an early setback when Alastair Cook, who has made only 100 runs in seven Test innings this summer with a top score of 29, saw his middle stump ripped out by a delivery which kept low from seamer Mohammad Amir.
That paired Strauss and Jonathan Trott at the crease and they steadied the ship before seeing England home with 53no apiece.
“This was a timely reminder you do have to work hard for a Test match,” a relieved Strauss said afterwards.
The captain also insisted he is unconcerned by Cook’s dip in form and is confident the Essex opener will turn things around.
“I know he’s a quality player,” he added. “I know these first two Test matches the wicket hasn’t been great. He’s achieved a huge amount in his career and he will continue to do so.”