Stuart Broad’s special moment could so have easily have been an awkward one.
When he trapped Kraigg Brathwaite in front of the stumps, as England dodged the showers and raced to a series-clinching win in the third Test in Manchester against the West Indies, he did something he often forgets.
He turned, and appealed to the umpire. It had been plumb LBW so the question was as good as rhetorical. And it meant Broad was able to toast his 500th Test wicket.
In such situations, Broad has been known to forgo the question to the umpire bit, and opt instead for a “Celebrappeal”.
It has got him in trouble in the past, when he has been sent to the match referee’s room for disciplining.
Had that been the case on this occasion, the match referee would not have known whether to fine him, send him to bed without his dinner, or give him a high-five.
Dad Chris was lucky to be there to witness the moment in person, in his role as the ICC match referee.
It is only because of the unique, bio-secure measures, that he was able to officiate his son’s matches in a behind-closed-doors Test series.
When Broad picked up Brathwaite, he waved the ball in the direction of his dad’s office. Chris sheepishly waved back.
“It is a little bit of a shame that, after 12 or 13 years of playing, all the family and friends that have supported me round the world and come to games on great days and bad days, they can’t be here to give a little wave to,” Broad said in his TV interview after the hosts won the Test by 269 runs on day five.
“But it was great to have dad here. I’m sure my mum, sister, Mol [girlfriend Mollie King] and family were watching at home.
“And I turned around as well [after taking the wicket]. How good was that? I’ve been practicing that.”
Top wicket takers in Tests
Coincidentally, James Anderson’s 500th Test wicket had also been Brathwaite.
Broad said his long-term new-ball partner had predicted he would be his, too, during the Old Trafford Test.
“What makes it extra special is taking that sort of milestone wicket in a Test win that has led to a Test series win,” Broad said.
“You always remember moments as a player for winning games, so it does feel great to have done it leading to a win.”
Broad finished the game in fine style, too. He took the final wicket, that of Jermaine Blackwood, to seal a 10-wicket haul for him in the match and a 2-1 win in the series for England. Broad took 6-31 in the first innings and 4-36 in the second.
Despite being left out of the first match, Broad was named the player of the series, as he finished it with 16 wickets at an average just over 10.
It was the first time England had come from behind to win a three-match Test series on home soil since 1888.
Jason Holder, the defeated captain, said the capitulation after their heroic display in the first Test had been down to the touring side’s misfiring batting.
No West Indies player reached 50 in the third Test, as they were bowled out for 197 and then 129 by a rampant English seam attack.
“We still didn’t get the runs we had been looking for,” Holder said of the turnaround in the series.
“If we look back at our performances, we had plenty of starts. Quite a few players made half-centuries, or got into the 30s and 40s, and didn’t kick on.
“If we look at England, when Ben Stokes got in, he went big. When Dom Sibley got in, he went big. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that.”