Stuart Broad shared his anger at missing the first Test against West Indies on a day when the determination of Ben Stokes was needed to prevent England slipping into a dire situation.
Stokes was among the brains trust that opted to overlook Broad and instead plump for the extra pace of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood. But the pair had just one wicket between them in the tourists’ 318 all-out, with the stand-in captain returning the best figures of four for 49 despite battling a bruised toe.
Dom Sibley and Rory Burns surviving a late 10-over burst from the West Indies’ quicks sees England head into day four on 15 for no loss but they are still 99 runs in arrears. Broad, who spoke to Sky before the start of play about his omission, was the chief talking point, however.
The 34-year-old, England’s leading wicket-taker over the past two years, said: “I’m not a particularly emotional person but I’ve found the last couple of days quite tough. To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. You only get disappointed if you drop your phone and break the screen.
“I’ve been frustrated, angry, gutted – because it’s quite a hard decision to understand. I’ve probably bowled the best I’ve ever bowled in the last couple of years. I felt like it was my shirt, having been in the team through the Ashes and going to South Africa and winning there.”
Broad sought talks with Ed Smith, the national selector, about his future and left feeling encouraged both by England’s plans for him and his own desire to break back into the team come next week’s second Test at Old Trafford.
He added: “It is hard to take but also I’m quite pleased that I feel frustrated and gutted and angry, because if I didn’t then I’d have a different decision to make. So I don’t think I’ve got anything to prove – England know what I can do. The selectors know what I can do. And when I get that opportunity again you can bet I’ll be on the money.”
Wood bowled sustained speeds in excess of 90mph throughout his 22 overs and ensured he and Archer did not go wicketless with the final strike of a West Indies’ innings built on Kraigg Brathwaite’s doughty 65 and a 61 from the wicketkeeper, Shane Dowrich.
Archer’s day may have turned out differently had he not overstepped when trapping Shai Hope lbw during an ominous morning for the home side, while spinner Dom Bess chiselled out a tidy two for 51 from 19.
Jimmy Anderson, who also claimed three for 62, was asked about his regular new ball partner, Broad, and replied: “I think you’re fully aware he’s not taken it very well. And I think it’s great for the team because it shows that he’s passionate and he’s desperate to be part of our success.
“I thought [Archer and Wood] bowled really well. Jofra getting a wicket off a no-ball, if he gets that, his confidence goes up and he could get on a roll. Similarly with Woody, I felt he bowled well in periods. The exciting thing from a bowler’s point of view is you know you’ve got the second innings to get some wickets.”