Stuart Broad secured his place among the pantheon of great pace bowlers with a 500th Test wicket before a brilliant five-for from Chris Woakes powered England to a 2-1 series win over the West Indies.
Broad had spent two successive nights lingering on 499 but ensured his wait would not carry on beyond this third Test, pinning Kraigg Brathwaite lbw in the morning session then returning to put the finishing touch on a 269-run victory.
As well as making him just the seventh bowler in history to reach the remarkable landmark – and the trajectory of the sport gives every reason to believe he might also be the last – Broad’s first-innings 62 and match figures of 10 for 67 ensured it would be England who won the last ever tussle for the soon-to-be-retired Wisden Trophy.
The 34-year-old enjoyed his moment, 13 years and 140 caps in the making, though the eerie silence of a ‘bio-secured’ Emirates Old Trafford was hardly befitting of a feat as lofty as this one.
The empty stands will not concern Broad, though, and he should rightly cherish his elevation to an elite group of a seamers that includes his long-time partner James Anderson, Courtney Walsh and Glenn McGrath as its only previous members.
It is no spoiler to reveal that Woakes will not be joining their number, standing as he does on 106 wickets from 35 appearances, but he remains one of the most skilful operators around. He shouldered the responsibility of driving forward the England cause, taking five for 50 in a long unbroken shift that saw the tourists rolled for 129 all out.
With one wicket still needed Broad returned for one last effort and did the job with his first ball, Jermaine Blackwood flapping down leg side.
All eyes were on Broad at the start of the day but Brathwaite and Shai Hope were reading from a different script initially, adding 25 runs in 25 minutes before a brief rain delay.
When the teams resumed Broad continued attacking the stumps at a full length, risking runs but increasing his chances of landing the big prize. When it came it was as plumb as any decision he has earned since he first donned England whites in 2007. Brathwaite was beaten all ends up on the back foot and Broad’s celebrations were never likely to be delayed by a DRS referral.
Anderson was among the first to congratulate his long-time partner and will have been quick to remind him that they now share another story, Brathwaite having also been his 500th victim at Lord’s in 2017.
Broad’s personal milestone also helped England strengthen their stranglehold on the third Test, the first of the eight breakthroughs they needed. He eventually took the chance to hold the ball aloft, albeit in slightly poignant fashion given the empty stands that have allowed this bio-secure series to take place.
Even when his spell was finished he found a way to stay involved, running in from mid-on to take a catch for Woakes, Hope having tossed away his good start with a horrible hack off the toe end.
The mixed weather offered some optimism for the West Indies but they lacked the fortitude to take advantage. Shamarh Brooks was next to follow the pattern, progressing nicely to 22 only for Woakes to shade one in off the pitch and brush the inside edge of an ambitious stroke.
Another shower forced the players to take an early lunch at 84 for five, but there was still a long road ahead if the Windies were to claim the draw they need to retain the Wisden Trophy.
Instead the afternoon’s play began with a brilliant piece of fielding from Dom Bess, included as a spinner but not used in the entire match. Blackwood set off for a run that Roston Chase was never as keen on but it still required a wonderfully alert pick-up and throw for Bess to hurl down the stumps at the keeper’s end.
The result was now a formality, with the batting side showing none of the steel they needed to hang on for a painstaking draw. Woakes was on hand to take full advantage of any lapse and they kept coming in quick succession.
He won three lbws in a row, pitching the ball up and searching for small variations off the pitch as Jason Holder, Shane Dowrich and Rahkeem Cornwall all departed cheaply.
Jofra Archer did his best to get on the board at the other end but when his fruitless spell concluded it saw Broad, inevitably, end the series on centre stage. Blackwood flicked him to Jos Buttler as the ball faded towards leg, handing him the third 10-wicket match of his career and the first since 2013.
Published: 29/07/2020 by Radio NewsHub