Stuart Broad and James Anderson have plenty more to give after Headingley heroics, says Sir Ian Botham
It's all well and good criticising, but who would you replace them with?
Last Updated: 04/06/18 6:09am
Stuart Broad and James Anderson proved they have plenty more to give by knocking the stuffing out of Pakistan, says Sir Ian Botham.
Broad finished with match figures of 6-66 and Anderson 5-78 as Joe Root's side romped to a series-levelling victory on day three at Headingley, the winning margin an innings and 55 runs.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan had suggested before the Test that it might be time to drop one of the senior players to "ruffle some feathers".
But Sky Sports pundit Botham said: "Broad was fantastic in both innings at Lord's and Jimmy got better and better as the game went on, and I thought they were both excellent here again.
"They kept the ball up and that's what caused all of the problems early on. Batsmen had to play at the ball early on and they either nicked it, got bowled or got trapped in front.
"Once you knock the stuffing out of the top-order on a surface like this and you're looking down an endless tube with nowhere to go, Pakistan were up against it. They applied the pressure and they forced the result."
Broad told Sky Sports that he hadn't felt some of the pre-match "was over-logical" and Botham agreed, saying: "I don't know why he got criticism after Lord's - I thought he was the best bowler in the England side. Why some of the guys wrote about him like that, I don't know.
"I thought he was the pick of the bowlers again at Headingley on day one; his pace was back up, his hand was behind the ball and his lengths were good.
"So that criticism was very unjustified, very unfair and unnecessary. He looks good - it's almost like turning the clock back a couple of years. I think he's got a lot more to offer England.
"It's all well and good people saying leave him or him out, but who are you going to replace them with? Unless I'm missing something, there aren't many people waiting to make the step up from county cricket.
"Alastair Cook has looked good in this series after a tough time in Australia and Broad has proved that you can teach an old dog a new trick after he went off to work on his wrist position.
"Bairstow has done well and bringing in Buttler is good, so when you look at it the core of the side is pretty solid. What England should be thinking now is - if something should happen to the two strike bowlers - who is going to come in and fill those boots, and they are massive boots to fill!"
England earned a first-innings cushion of 189 runs on the back of an unbeaten 80 from Jos Buttler, returned to the Test team at the start of the series, and Botham was impressed by the manner and method of the Player of the Match's innings.
"Buttler was dropped on four but after that he timed it powerfully because he's got very fast hands," Botham added.
"You can see the sense of bringing him back in, especially in the absence of Ben Stokes, because you've got a person who can turn the game very quickly - and that's what he did.
"He put England into an unassailable position on this surface; for me he gave England the buffer they needed and he did it in entertaining fashion too."
The victory marks a quick reversal in fortunes for each side after Pakistan won the first Test at Lord's in a little over three days - and as well as the tourists played at the Home of Cricket, Botham said England played right into their hands at the start of the series.
"I go back to the toss on the first day - England won the toss and for some reason decided to bat when they had perfect overhead conditions and a green pitch.
"It was almost, in my opinion, as though they were thinking 'we're only playing a young Pakistan side so we can do it that way'.
"I was a bit disappointed they didn't take the initiative then - doing so would have been to have bowled, and to have bowled Pakistan out."
Watch England take on Scotland in a one-off one-day international on Saturday, from 10.30am on Sky Sports Cricket.
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