Stuart Broad, the England pacer, picked up a hat-trick in his team's first two-day practice match on their tour of the West Indies.
It capped off a satisfying warm-up for the visitors against CWI President's XI, with Joe Root and Ben Stokes making fifties, and the bowlers taking 19 wickets (the teams had agreed that England would bowl the whole of the second day, regardless of the number of wickets).
Broad recently revealed that, inspired by New Zealand legend Richard Hadlee and his own team-mate Jimmy Anderson, he had tweaked his action, including with a shorter run-up. He was thrilled at how it worked for him.
England's @StuartBroad8 has turned to New Zealand legend Sir Richard Hadlee for inspiration as he looks to tune up his bowling action ahead of the 2019 Ashes and extend his international career.— ICC (@ICC) January 14, 2019
➡️ https://t.co/3m4NqHIm5q pic.twitter.com/3Ia8Z3tp31
"The most important thing for me was the rhythm of my new, shorter run-up feeling good," he said after the game on Wednesday, 16 January. "In my second spell I tried to ramp up the intensity, and how I bowled in the afternoon was as good as I've felt in a long time."
The veteran England pacer, in fact, took four wickets in five balls. He remembered his feats from exactly three years before, when at the Wanderers in South Africa he had taken 6/17, including 5/1 in a devastating 10-over spell. While these figures won't count towards his first-class tally, given the nature of the game, he was hopeful that it was a sign of things to come in the Tests starting 23 January.
"Maybe January 16 is my lucky day because three years ago I took six wickets at the Wanderers on this day," said Broad. "But I guess it's just a shame it wasn't a Test.
"I never really look at how many wickets I want to take in my career but I'd love to take three Test hat-tricks because I don't think anyone has ever done that" – he has two so far, against India in 2011 and Sri Lanka in 2014 – "Maybe today was good practice."
Broad and Anderson have formed one of the best new-ball pairs, but since last year, England have been open to trying out another pairing, with Sam Curran providing an option. Curran opened the bowling in the warm-up game and his senior said that was part of the plan.
"I've opened the bowling hundreds of times and it might not develop my game to do it in a warm-up, but for a young bowler like Sam it can create a different pressure," Broad explained. "It's really good practice to try to set the tone in an England shirt."
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