Broad back to his best: England skipper Cook

Cardiff, July 12 (IANS) Although he did not single out anyone after his side crushed Australia in the first Ashes Test, England Test captain Alaistair Cook on Sunday said pacer Stuart Broad is back to his best.

Defending 412 runs, Broad did the bulk of the damage as the tourists were defeated by 169 runs late on Day Four here on Saturday. Broad picked up five wickets in the match with three crucial wickets in the second innings (3/39). England lead the five-match Test series 1-0. The second Test begins on Thursday at the Lord’s cricket ground.

The fast bowler knocked over opener Chris Rogers in the morning session before adding Steven Smith, the top-ranked Test batsman, and Michael Clarke in quick succession after lunch as Australia lost four quick wickets for only nine runs.

It was not only the high-profile scalps that Broad took, but the economical and ruthless way he bowled today for 3-39 that so impressed Cook.

“He was (back to his best), and that’s the type of bowler he is. He just gets on a little run, takes three-for and kind of rips the heart out of their batting line-up,” Cook was quoted as saying by ecb.co.uk on Sunday.

The skipper, however chose not to single out anyone for the triumph.

“It would be wrong really to single out anyone in terms of the fielding performance and the bowling performance. Everyone was superb. We caught our catches, which is something we haven’t been doing as well as we would like to have done. We caught some really good catches,” Cook said.

The captain also praised Man-of-the-Match Joe Root plus those others who made telling contributions to England’s first-innings score of 430, but emphasised the collective performance.

“Batting, Rooty (Joe Root) will get all the headlines, as he should, for a brilliant 130. (It was) great to see Ian (Bell) coming back into a bit of form and the way Ben (Stokes) played, Mo(een Ali) played. It’s really good stuff and we’ll sit there today in the change room for a bit and enjoy that,” he said.

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