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Throwback Thursday: England's Stuart Broad skittles through Australia with 8-15 at Trent Bridge in 2015 Ashes

Stuart Broad

'So, what have I missed?'

Those were the immortal words directed at me from one anxious colleague - and huge England cricket fan - who had the misfortune to attend a lengthy meeting at Sky Studios on the morning of August 6, 2015.

"Pull up a chair," I wish I'd been able to say, "and let me talk you through 18.3 overs of utter Ashes carnage, the like of which we're never likely to see again".

In reality, my reply was somewhat - like Australia's innings - short. The tourists had just been decimated by Stuart Broad, his 8-15 demolishing the Aussies in the most penetrative spell of bowling I'd ever witnessed live, and there was an ongoing blog plus any other number of articles to write.

Australia's score of 60 (yes, just SIXTY) was "the sort of score you expect to see at the U9s on the village green" said Ian Botham memorably, prompting the only English cry of protest on the day as colts up and down the land took umbrage.

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Stuart sat down with Sky Sports ahead of the 2019 Ashes to discuss his best spells against Australia

The bald stats even now seem barely credible - Broad needing just 19 balls to complete a five-wicket haul on his way to becoming the first bowler to take at least seven Test wickets before lunch. Even for a man well-versed in dazzling destruction, this was devastating damage.

The spell (briefly) took me back to the summer of 2012 when the country was abuzz with the Olympics.

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The comms box chortled at the prospect of Mike Atherton covering archery at Lord's, Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake set a new record for selfies in a media centre and Hashim Amla pushed the limits of human endurance with a marathon triple hundred as South Africa seized the Test mace.

Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake poses for photographers before ringing the bell at the start of play during day one of the 3rd Investec Test match between England and South Africa at Lord's Cricket Ground on August 16, 2012
Image: Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake - nicknamed 'The Beast' - rings the bell ahead of England's third Test against South Africa at Lord's in August 2012

Only a few months earlier, Broad had run rings around West Indies as his 7-72 in the first innings of the Lord's Test had given England - still the best Test team in the world then, despite difficult tours against Pakistan in the UAE in and Sri Lanka - the perfect launchpad for the international season.

Another seven-for, this time against New Zealand at HQ, would follow the very next year before Old Trafford bore witness to a stunning 6-25 as Broad in partnership with James Anderson reduced India to 8-4.

Broad's 8-15, though, took 'unstoppable' to a whole new level.

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'How was your morning?' Stuart tells Ian Ward it's been pretty incredible!

I recall the build-up to that day vividly - Bumble talking about making gooseberry vodka, England's haphazard form (WLWLWLW) endlessly debated.

A new father for the first time (my son William being born on the second day of the Ashes series), I had largely failed to trouble the scorers playing for the Chairman's XI during Worcester Park CC's cricket week. I was wide-eyed in every sense and in need of a rejuvenating lift.

Boy, did Broad provide it. The Outlaw was already firmly in the media spotlight - 'local leads attack in Anderson's absence needing one wicket to reach 300 as England seek to regain Ashes'. Or something similar and far snappier.

Loitering near master-of-ceremonies Atherton at the toss, only later would we discover that Broad had initially been of the view that batting first might be the way to go despite moisture in the pitch and an even covering of green grass.

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Stuart - lurking on his left - starts to mark out his run-up after Alastair Cook wins the toss and bowls... but it was far from a straightforward decision!

The clouds and an early shower had been replaced by sunshine as Broad got proceedings underway nearly five minutes late, following hearty applause in memory of Clive Rice, with a ball from around the wicket that Chris Rogers pushed into the covers.

A half-shout for lbw followed as Australia picked up four leg byes - and then it all kicked off to such an extent that for the first time ever in Ashes history, Extras (14) ended as top-scorer in an innings.

Broad's milestone wicket started the rot as Rogers was well taken to his left at first slip by Cook, joining Anderson, Bob Willis and Fred Trueman in England's 300-club.

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Test highlights? There have been a few... take a look at some of Stuart's best

Nor would Steve Smith see out the over, turned around by a crackerjack delivery to snick off to Joe Root at third slip and leave Australia on an unlikely 10-2 at the end of the first over.

In fact, Australia's top four would face just 12 balls between them - Warner caught behind off Mark Wood before Shaun Marsh edged to Ian Bell at second slip, the scoreboard showing 15-4 and the away dressing room cooler than my untouched cup of tea.

I still think the biggest wicket of that day was Mark Wood getting David Warner first ball because he's a dangerous player who plays well on a pitch that moves. That gave us a huge belief at 10-3 of putting a middle-order under pressure that hadn't spent a lot of time in the middle. The pitch nibbled that perfect amount - that half bat width - and we took some amazing catches, notably Ben Stokes at fourth slip. I obviously look back with huge fondness on that.
Stuart Broad

The blog was typing, not writing, by this point - Jack Kerouac-style spontaneity required to keep pace but even he would have paused had he witnessed Ben Stokes' sensational catch in the gully to remove Adam Voges. For sheer athleticism it was right up there with Paul Collingwood's stunner at backward point to remove Australia's Matthew Hayden at Bristol in 2005.

Stokes moved to his right to take the ball one-handed behind him, grabbing it from the air just when he looked to have no chance. It was a moment of instinctive brilliance - hard to comprehend - that no-one could surely replicate?

Nevertheless, the very next morning Nasser had a go in a pre-play slip catching demonstration - and he very nearly pulled off a blinder having let a previous attempt slip out of his clutches.

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Could Nasser do a Stokes? Check out how our man fared trying to emulate Ben's wonder catch...

Cue much mirth all round and another barracking from spectators and fellow pundits alike. Nas stormed off in high dudgeon, only partially pantomime.

Broad's reaction to Stokes' catch - his hands over his mouth in utter disbelief - spawned myriad copycat images around the globe under the moniker 'Oh my Broad'.

Trent Bridge witnessed a load of new records in the first session on the opening day
Image: That scorecard and that image - both went around the world in a flash!

Michael Clarke handed Broad his fifth scalp with a slash outside off-stump and Peter Nevill was despatched by Steven Finn, bowled by a fuller length delivery - a tactic impressed upon the bowling unit over dinner in the build-up to the Test by Bob Willis.

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Bob reflects on a convivial evening with England's bowlers, praising their meticulous planning...

Root would later - once the Ashes were regained - don an Albert Einstein wig and imitate Willis' mock-grumpiness on the Verdict, a comical moment that drew a typically stinging and humorous reply from England fanatic Bobby.

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Joe Root's impersonation of Bob after England's win in the fourth Test earns him less than full marks...

"We're receiving reports of Aussies in trouble," tweeted Nottinghamshire Police as Broad made light work of the tail - Australia bowled out before lunch for the first time since 1896 at Lord's.

The highest stand in the innings had been 13 and England openers Alastair Cook and Adam Lyth were able to match it in three overs before lunch.

I went through all sorts of emotions - huge elation at getting five-for very quickly in the morning and then what felt like an eternity to get the last couple of wickets. I remember feeling pure relief in my celebration when Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson edged to slip because it felt like we'd gone hours without taking a wicket. Actually it was only four or five overs but after the pace of the first hour, it really slowed down. So it was probably the best feeling I've had in cricket, sat there with a cup of tea 15 minutes before lunch watching Cooky and Adam Lyth bat knowing that we'd bowled Australia out and pretty much won the Ashes in an hour-and-a-half.
Stuart Broad

The hosts would go on and win the Test by an innings and 78 runs to regain the Ashes in just 14 days after Joe Root's 130 in the first innings, Australia's victory at the Oval ending a simmering series 3-2 in England's favour.

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Treat yourself - take another look at the best action from a remarkable Ashes series, which England won 3-2

My summer was made all the more memorable as Sky Sports digital won best Multi-Media Sports Package for its coverage of the Ashes at the Sports Journalism Awards, recognising the hard graft put in by David Ruse, David Currie and Mark Farrell in particular, with Ian Ward picking up Best Presenter and the cricket team claiming Television Sport Live Broadcast award too, fast on their success at the Broadcast Awards.

I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Martin Tyler, Oliver Burley
Image: Best Broadcast Sports Commentator Martin Tyler, with Sky Sports Cricket director Mark Lynch, Director of Cricket Bryan Henderson and Digital Editor Oli Burley - at the 2015 SJAs

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