Key events

I think it’s a bit strange how we sometimes talk about building towards the Ashes series, when it comes to England aiming to have a good team then. The point really is to be good now, but it’s hard not to think about later in the year and wonder how much fun it will be.


It might not work the same way for him today, as the conditions won’t be as helpful in the first session. But it must be mentally tough to hit in this situation, and more often than not – I think – the end comes pretty quickly.

“If there’s movement, they’ll find it,” said Chris Woakes of Branderson. Alastair Cook says Broad sent him a message saying that on this track his natural length hit at the top, so he didn’t have to force anything, he could just bowl. Usually he goes over the top because he is a tall boy.

In the interest of my health I chose not to buy the entire newsstand, which I did on Friday morning. I just found my daughter’s lotus biscuit spread. More news when I get it.

It was a while ago because we have seen a real Stuart Broad rampage, and there is little in the world more glorious. It takes someone special to turn the phrase “knees pump” into a cliché.


Is David Warner the reason England are like this? Perhaps we are I’m just projecting, but bear with me.

It’s true that Steve Waugh’s Australia changed the way Test cricket was played, Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer got things moving and Ricky Ponting with his starting “Can I hit you to the fence” mindset. But it was not, I think, until David Warner, as a player of the highest order attacked the longer form as if it were the shorter.

It also made perfect sense: a batter of immense power, with a funny eye and unstoppable chatter; fielders behind the wicket who offer gaps you don’t get in limited overs; and a new ball that flies when you introduce wood.

Likewise, what England do also makes perfect sense, as they have a whole lineup with versions of Warner’s skills so know, just as Eoin Morgan always knew, that in many innings there will be accelerating destruction; in almost every innings, enough batting will become competitive; if they don’t, there’s always another one; and if they still don’t, there’s always one more match.

And we can’t underestimate this last aspect: as much as possible in international sport, Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes have taken the pressure out of the equation so that all their players have to do is their best, while having fun. So they are.

It’s possible that New Zealand can come out of this one – Daryl Mitchell is a great player and Michael Bracewell can go far. But the likelihood is that at some point this morning the tourists will clean up – and at some point Stuart Broad should probably ring the vicar on behalf of England cricket, to thank him for the efforts that have changed English cricket.

Play: 2pm local, 1am GMT