Despite a day and a half now lost to rain in the second Ashes Test, England’s Stuart Broad is confident that England can still snatch a win.
"We’re pretty positive," said Broad, after a day which saw the last ball bowled just before the stroke of lunch, at 1pm, before finally being called off almost four-and-a-half hours later. "We’d need to bowl Australia out by lunch tomorrow."
"There’s 98 overs for the next two days, which for both teams has been enough to bowl each other out," laughed the seamer, currently England’s leading-wicket taker with eight so far in the series. "There’s certainly hope for both sides. There could be quite an interesting, intriguing game left in this Test match although we’ve lost so much for rain. Our bowling unit’s aim is to get the next six wickets by lunch and then ideally bat until an hour, or half an hour, before lunch on day five and try to force a result that way.
"This pitch has got 10 good balls in it in each day. Hopefully we’ll be bowling last, there’s a bit of dryness so [Jack] Leach could come into the game with good footholes there. I think we’ll get 98 overs in in the next two days, so I think there is chance of a result."
It’s a sentiment the former Australian batter Steve Waugh, now the team’s batting mentor, agrees with, albeit in slightly less bullish tones. Australia, after all, are already one-nil up in the series, and the need for a result is less pressing.
"There is a long way to go in the game," conceded Waugh. "From our point of view we need to score some runs first up. We are still 178 behind. That’s our first target. If we can get there and put some more runs on after that then we believe we have a chance.
"But we’re a long, long way from victory. Both sides I think will be confident that they can force a victory, but [there is] a lot of work to be done. Tomorrow’s important, obviously rain will come into it, but our first goal is to get on par with England."
"The key to doing well is not having a disastrous session. You’re going to lose some sessions, but you need to lose them closely," continued Waugh. "You’ve got to sum up the conditions. From a bowling point of view you’ve got to seize the moment, from a batting point of view, sometimes you’ve got to stem the blood loss and just hold steady."
One man that England are hoping will seize that moment is the debutant Jofra Archer, who impressed with his pace and line. Having plucked his first Test wicket, trapping Cameron Bancroft leg before, he has gone for just 18 runs from his 13 overs. Broad, however, believes that the best is yet to come.
"I don’t think Jofra bowled as quick as he can out there," shrugged Broad. "I was on the field with [Steve] Harmison a few times when it was genuinely like 'Wow, this was express pace’. I think Mark Wood in St Lucia was theatre in cricket. Everyone on that field was blown away by the pace.
"I don’t think Jofra’s spell was necessarily like that but what impressed me was his nagging line," assured Broad. "The fact he can bring all dismissals in, he’s aggressive with his bouncer and this is his first Test match. It’s a big learning experience and he seems willing and keen to learn."
"In our minds, because he’s been involved with the World Cup and talked about so much in the last six months, we think he’s an experienced, older and knows-it-all cricketer. But he’s still learning his trade a little bit, although he’s doing it with great success."