Stuart Broad’s experiment to adopt Australian great Shane Warne’s stance at the crease paid off on Saturday as he smashed a quickfire half century for England on the second day of the final test against West Indies on Saturday.
Peter Moores, his former England coach and current mentor at Nottinghamshire, suggested a technical tweak to his game when he was up against fast bowlers and that new approach was in full display at Old Trafford.
Broad scored the joint third fastest test 50 for England off just 33 balls as he helped England to fight back after West Indies had gained the early momentum by grabbing four wickets in the first hour.
The 34-year-old was eventually dismissed for 62 after helping England to a first innings total of 369 from 280 for 8.
Ian Botham is the only England player to have scored quicker test 50s — having done so off 28 and 31 balls. Broad matched the feats of Allan Lamb and Andrew Flintoff.
“They were quite important runs. It was about changing the momentum of the innings. West Indies bowled beautifully this morning and I think if I had gone out there and tried to play regulation I think there was a ball with my name on it,” Broad told a news conference.
“I tried to up the momentum, hit the bowlers off a length and try and take Kemar (Roach) and Shannon (Gabriel) away from what they’d done so well in the first 40 minutes.
“Tactically it was the right thing to do and something I’ve worked on with Peter Moores at Nottinghamshire. He brought me the example of Shane Warne who didn’t look particularly pretty at times but hit balls in different areas and was really effective, especially in the 2005 Ashes.”
Leg spinner Warne was one of cricket’s greatest bowlers, but he was often a major irritant to opponents with the bat as he notched up 12 test 50s.
Broad said the idea was to stay leg side to eliminate the possibility of being trapped lbw and then back his ability to hit the straight ball.
“There was a little bit of thought process in the madness, but I did enjoy myself out there,” he said.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Broad said his aim was to keep the head still and rule out lbw.
"It's strange in this bio-secure environment," he said. "As bowlers, we've not really had much match practice with the bat, but in one of my last Test innings at the Wanderers I played in this style and really enjoyed it. I just tried to think back of how that went, because I didn't really have any much practice to rely on.
"I've done a couple of tactical and technical things with Peter Moores back at Notts, which has helped me set up a better gameplan and I stuck to that today. I like going through the off side, so I was trying to keep my head out of the way, instead of falling over to bring in the lbw.
"I think I'm at my best when I'm just striking the ball," he added. "But one thing I've done recently is try and keep my head much stiller.
"As soon as the eyes start moving on delivery, everything feels much quicker and harder, so the work I've done recently to be as still as possible when the ball's released, which gives you the best chance of striking it.
"It's really hard to tell in the nets, you need match practice at it, but felt really comfortable today, having a clear gameplan of what to do. And I think the situation helped today. It was not one of those situations to try and hang around for two hours and see where we went. I'm not someone who's going to be able to leave loads of balls and bat 100 balls for 20. I want to be able to score and those situations like today suit me really."
However, Broad was dismissed to a full toss from Roston Chase.
"Batting is such a frustrating, weird thing," he said. "If you told me this morning I'd get 10, I'd be pretty happy. I'd probably have shaken your hand and taken it. You end up getting 60 and you start kicking the ground that you've not got 70. It's great to have got 60 but I'm actually annoyed I hit a full toss to midwicket now."
(With Reuters inputs)