“There might be one last magical tale to tell.”
The fourth day was supposed to be a celebration of Broad, who disclosed his retirement plans after this Test match the night before.
The 37-year-old, the second-highest wicket-taker for England in Test cricket, was given a ceremonial send-off at the start of the day. However, Australia’s opening duo, Usman Khawaja and David Warner, left England frustrated as they batted to 135-0, chasing 384, before the day was cut short due to rain.
Broad, a renowned figure in Ashes history, holds the record for most wickets taken against Australia in Test cricket. Can he muster one last mesmerising spell, akin to his legendary 8-15 performance during the 2015 Ashes at Trent Bridge, on this concluding day?
“If there was to be one more magical story, it would be fitting if it was Stuart’s final five-wicket haul,” stated England coach Marcus Trescothick. “Imagine if the team needed one or two wickets to win and he steps up to secure his last five-wicket haul… that would be spectacular, wouldn’t it?
“Often, we don’t witness the kind of magical endings we wish for, but it’s heartening to imagine such a moment.”
‘Australia has a slight edge’
England’s bowling in their 38 overs was underwhelming, with little assistance from the sluggish, unresponsive pitch, or any notable movement in the air.
They had moments of dominance over Australia on day three, as they did in the drawn fourth Test at Old Trafford the previous week, before ultimately being dismissed for 395 earlier on day four in their second innings.
However, Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, proclaimed the visiting team, who are trying to secure their first outright Ashes series victory in England since 2001, as “slight favourites”.
“At the commencement of the chase, England seemed like the probable winners but now, needing just 249, Australia appears to have the upper hand going into the last day.
“England’s bowling lineup appears to be grappling with some difficulties.”
Interestingly, Mark Wood did not bowl until the 33rd over, but Trescothick, while acknowledging that some bowlers were dealing with minor injuries, assured that the Durham quick is healthy.
Moeen Ali, despite injuring his groin while batting on the first day, bowled, but struggled with his off-spin. Part-timer Joe Root seemed to pose a greater threat.
“Clearly, spin is a problem,” Vaughan noted.
“Is it realistic to expect Joe Root to bowl out Australia on the last day? I’m sceptical.
“The Aussies have endured several setbacks, but they bounced back today.
“They’ve been under pressure for three days and were similarly challenged at Old Trafford. It would be an astonishing series win if they manage to chase down these runs tomorrow.”
‘A remarkable 24 hours’
The day commenced with Broad partnering with his long-term bowling mate, James Anderson.
The left-arm bowler, who has collected 602 wickets in 167 Tests, struck Mitchell Starc for a six off what turned out to be his final delivery in cricket.
“Fantastic, wasn’t it?” remarked Trescothick, who was a teammate of Broad in one-day cricket in 2006.
“For most, the last ball is either getting bowled out, edging one to the slips, or delivering a ball, but to hit your last ball for a six…
“At that moment, we were contemplating a declaration and bringing everyone in, but it was a great personal moment for him.”
Trescothick further added: “It was wonderful to see Stuart receive well-deserved recognition for his relentless dedication and hard work over such a long period.
“The last 24 hours have been amazing, and while it’s sad to see him depart, every good thing comes to an end.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about 2023 Ashes
Who has announced their retirement during the 2023 Ashes?
Stuart Broad, the second-highest wicket-taker for England in Test cricket, has announced his retirement during the 2023 Ashes.
Who is considered the ‘favourite’ in the final Test of the 2023 Ashes according to Michael Vaughan?
According to former England captain Michael Vaughan, Australia is considered the ‘slight favourite’ in the final Test of the 2023 Ashes.
What was the state of the game on the fourth day of the final Test of the 2023 Ashes?
On the fourth day of the final Test, Australia’s opening duo, Usman Khawaja and David Warner, had batted to 135-0, chasing 384, before rain halted play.
What is special about Stuart Broad’s performance in the Ashes series?
Stuart Broad holds the record for the most wickets taken against Australia in Test cricket. He is renowned for his 8-15 spell during the 2015 Ashes at Trent Bridge.
What was the last thing Broad did in cricket?
Broad, who has collected 602 wickets in 167 Tests, struck Mitchell Starc for a six off what turned out to be his final delivery in cricket.