EDGBASTON (Reuters): Stuart Broad slammed the Edgbaston surface as “soulless” and described it as one of the slowest he has encountered in England after Usman Khawaja’s unbeaten century dragged Australia back into the contest and left the first Ashes test finely poised.
Broad lit up the morning session, dismissing David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne in consecutive balls, but then struggled with the rest of the pace attack as England were punished for errors while Australia racked up the runs on Saturday.
Khawaja was bowled by Broad 112, before replays showed the seamer had overstepped. It was one of 13 no-balls from England, with Broad sending down six, while Jonny Bairstow also missed two chances behind the stumps.
“How can I be polite? It’s a very slow, low surface that saps the energy out of the ball,” Broad said. “It’s pretty characterless so far, pretty soulless, but you can only judge a surface towards the end of the match and see how it develops.
“It’s really frustrating. I’m not really a big no-ball bowler. I probably bowled more no-balls today than I have in a test match before.
Captain Ben Stokes had asked for “flat, fast wickets” for the series but the Edgbaston pitch has been on the slow side for the first two days.
“Hopefully it’s not a trend for the whole series,” Broad said. “It’s certainly one of the slowest pitches I can remember bowling on in England.
“It’s been hard work for the seamers and ultimately we are looking to entertain, have fun and get the crowd jumping and it’s quite a difficult pitch to get plays-and-misses on and nicks to slip on.”
But Broad believes England are still in a strong position before Australia resume at 311-5 on Sunday, trailing by 82 runs.
“We had a really good day,” Broad told the BBC. “The game is nicely poised. We are 82 runs ahead, one or two wickets from the tail.”
“It’s been a hard, gruelling day on a pitch that’s offered very little so far but being in this position is a really positive place to be.”