The Broadwalk: Stuart Broad raises his bat to the crowd as he eventually walks off the field at stumps. Photo: AFP
- Scorecard / As it happened
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If there was a noble voice inside Stuart Broad, it must have been screaming at him to turn around and make for the pavilion. Or was it that it was shouted down by a baser, but louder and now more common instinct, which recognises no nicety except the distinction between winning and losing? Maybe there was no debate in Broad's mind; maybe nothing happened there.
Ashton Agar had tempted Broad with a wide-pitched ball, and Broad had slashed at it and caught a decent, woody chunk of it, and it had flicked the fingertips of Brad Haddin's gloves and been caught by Australian captain Michael Clarke at slip, and Agar had his third Test wicket to augment his 98 runs, and the Australians had rejoiced, and the Trent Bridge crowd had groaned, and England was seven out with a lead of 232 and the first Test was still alive for Australia, just because it had been the sort of day on which every hard-earned wicket had restored Australia's position.
Disbelief: The Australian players look on after Umpire Aleem Dar turned down an appeal against Stuart Broad. Photo: Getty Images
But Broad did not walk, and umpire Aleem Dar did not give him out, and colleague Kumar Dharmasena did not intervene, and TV umpire Marais Erasmus could not, and the Australians were flabbergasted, and the Test match came to a screaming halt, and when it started again, the edge had come off the charm of the opening two days of this series, and it will take much diplomacy and graciousness to restore it, and there wasn't much of either around on Friday night.
In this discomfiting episode, there were many errors of omission and commission, ever compounding, and we will come to those. But the buck stops with Broad.
Cricket's code of unwritten ethics is quirky document, and nowhere is it more perverse than in its attitude to walking. But in that ageless debate, the line is always drawn at the outer edge of a grey area, in which the fact of the batsman's dismissal is not immediately obvious and might be contentious. The only reason that the Broad incident became such a issue is that that he was so blatantly out, and he and the whole cricket world immediately knew it, though it somehow escaped Aleem Dar, a good umpire. A catch to slip is out, and out, and out, and a batsman who does not accept that is a prat. I know that will cue a long chorus of "what about him?, and him?, and him?", as if an accumulation of wrongs in time becomes a right.
The Ashes - Australia vs England Day 3
Ashton Agar warms up before day three of the 1st Investec Ashes Test match between England and Australia. Photo: Getty
The echoes on Friday carried from as far away as 1987 when Chris Broad, Stuart's father, refused to walk when given out in Pakistan. Broad senior is now an ICC match referee, one of the pastors of the ICC. He knows the moral argument from every side.
But if Broad junior is not convinced by appeals to the spirit of the game or his better nature, he at least ought to have had regard for this stage and his reputation. This was the Ashes, not some twilight village encounter in which his recalcitrance might have been sorely protested by a couple of yokels and otherwise passed unnoticed. By this weekend, everyone in cricket's consciousness will have seen the evidence that will now become an asterisk against Broad's name and a shadow on this Ashes series.
With luck and leadership, it will not overshadow it. On Friday - in fact from mid-way through Thursday - this Test match changed tone and tempo, leaving far behind the thrills, spills and slapdash and replacing it with a more subtle, attritional and in many ways classier contest; it was as if the nerves at last were fully shaken out and it was time to play Test cricket.
Effectively, it was a three-way contest, between England's batting, Australia's bowling and a now stodgy pitch that made it hard for either side to penetrate. England's batsman all were resolute, Australia's bowlers to a man, including teenager Agar, stoic. Neither side gave or gained other than grudgingly, which meant that despite the glassy outfield, runs came at barely more than two an over until a loosening in the last session, but the surrender of wickets was widely spaced. It was a day-and-a-half- for eking.
In the backdrop, DRS was having a bad match. Still shoddy protocols had led to four counter-intuitive decisions, three concerning lbw and one the stumping of Agar. Perhaps this cluttered the Australians' minds. Earlier this day, they had frivolously forfeited their last referral by asking for a review of a delivery from James Pattinson to Jonny Bairstow that was to all eyes, naked, trained and television, was passing to leg.
In the Broad moment, it came back to haunt them. Though wronged, they had no recourse; it would register only on their faces. If it was within Dharmasena's remit to refer - that was unclear - he did not, and Erasmus was powerless to intervene remotely. These also are failings of protocol. Added to Broad's unconscionable refusal to budge, they put the match in a new and nastier temper.
In the certain way of these things, two balls later Ian Bell played almost the only false stroke of his long, vigilant and handsome innings, edging a low catch from Peter Siddle, to which Haddin could not cling. In the escalation, warnings appeared to be issued to the English batsmen for running on the pitch and Pattinson for excessive appealing. Some of the hitherto prevailing blithe spirit collapsed. Bell, fastidiously, and Broad, chancing his arm, stretched their partnership to 100 and England's lead to 261; it will prove to be the wrench that wins the match.
Post-play, more red cricket tape, meant that there could be no rapprochement, nor light shed. Kevin Pietersen and Peter Siddle were their team's designated spokesmen, though at the time of the Broad incident, Siddle was in the outfield and Pietersen was even further away, in the changerooms.
Pietersen, replicating his statuesque defence while batting, stepped media through the usual mantras and dogma: "every player has the opportunity to wait", "we play hard and fair" (fair!), "Aleem Dar is a fantastic umpire whose decisions should be respected", "all we're interested in is what happens tomorrow". Siddle's defence was even stouter, until at last when he was asked if he had ever seen a thicker edge not given out. "Maybe once in the backyard," he said.
One can wonder if anyone ever was out in the Broad backyard.