Broad's Ashes farewell 'the stuff of legend', says fellow England great Gower

By Sports Desk August 03, 2023

England batting great David Gower described Stuart Broad's Ashes send-off as "the stuff of legend" after he delivered two crucial wickets to level the series on the final outing of his career.

Broad announced the fifth Test against Australia would be his last match as a professional cricketer on Saturday, before ending his glittering career on a high two days later.

With England requiring two late wickets on day five to level the series at 2-2, Broad dismissed Todd Murphy and Alex Carey to deny Australia a first series win on English soil since 2001.

The 37-year-old ends his career with 604 Test wickets, a tally only bettered by long-time team-mate James Anderson (690) among England players.

Asked about Broad's remarkable final outing, former England skipper Gower told Stats Perform: "Stuart's finished as anyone would like to, on a high, on an absolute high. 

"The Ashes has probably been his specialist subject, but he's taken wickets all around the world. His record, of course, is absolutely outstanding, bettered only by Jimmy Anderson. 

"His last shot being a six over deep midwicket, then to finish with the two wickets that wrapped up the game at The Oval… that is the stuff of legend. 

"Most of us go out without that script, most of us have to slink off having had a pretty bad day! 

"To go [out] on a highlight… that is a privilege accorded to very, very few. Alastair Cook did it at The Oval, others have done it at The Oval. The gods are looking after you when you have that sort of finish.

"I think for so many players, whatever else happens elsewhere in the world, if you are good at The Ashes – because of the history that comes with it – that stays in your memory forever. 

"I was very lucky to have a pretty good record in The Ashes as a batsman, and that's something I'm very proud of. Stuart can be equally proud about the way he succeeded and the way he played.

"We will always miss great players. When England next take to the field in a test match in India or next summer back here against different opposition, [we'll] be looking at the England eleven and thinking, 'I wish we still had Stuart' because people really enjoyed the way he played the game."

Broad's total of 153 wickets in Ashes series is the best of any England bowler, with only Australia pair Shane Warne (195) and Glenn McGrath (157) boasting more dismissals. 

Meanwhile, fellow bowling great Anderson has refuted suggestions he could follow Broad into retirement, saying his team-mate's exit has made his own desire to play on "even more firm".

Reflecting on the duo's incredible Test records, Gower added: "What will stay indelibly in black ink is that record. 

"The records of the game will show him [Broad] with 600-odd wickets in a lot of Test matches, 600 wickets for a seam bowler of his ilk is a lot of wickets. 

"Jimmy Anderson is ahead in that game, and he is even more incredible for his longevity. Jimmy is saying, 'I don't want to give up, I'm only 41!'

"It's an extraordinary thing for him to be quite so fit and strong and capable at that age as a quick bowler. 

"Both of them will look back as their lives develop, and there will always be those figures in the book."

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