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Shane Warne
Cricket Expert & Columnist

The Ashes: fiery Stuart Broad was inspirational, says Shane Warne

Broad inspires England to victory

Stuart Broad's outstanding, aggressive bowling inspired England to an Ashes-clinching victory at Durham, says Shane Warne.

"When he pitches the ball up and he's got aggression and intent, he looks an outstanding bowler. When he gets on a roll he's hard to stop."

Shane Warne

All-rounder Broad finished with match figures of 11-121 after picking up 6-50 as Australia, needing 299 to win, were skittled for 224 in their second innings after being 147-1, to lose the fourth Test by 74 runs.

Read our match report here.

The result means that England head to the fifth and final Test at the Oval 3-0 up and Warne said Broad fully deserved the man-of-the-match award for his efforts even though Ian Bell swelled his run tally for the series to 500 at an average of 71.42 with a crucial and classy second-innings 113.

"Broad was outstanding, especially in the first innings after England had just been bowled out for a cheap score [of 238]," said Warne. "The length he bowled was fantastic; when he pitches the ball up and he's got aggression and intent, he looks an outstanding bowler. When he gets on a roll he's hard to stop.

Bell's batting has been key

"He really deserved to be man-of-the-match after bowling that spell [in the second innings] to really turn the game on its head.

"Ian Bell has been the real difference between the two sides. He's made 200 more runs than anybody else and has been absolutely outstanding throughout the whole series; Australia have struggled how to get him out. They don't seem to have a clear plan to him.

"He has really grown of age and matured a bit - as shown by the way he's got his runs and when he's got them. He's become one of the most important players in the side."

Momentum

Australia's chase was in good shape at tea with the scoreboard showing 120-1 off 33 overs as openers Chris Rogers (49) and David Warner (71) bedded in.

However Tim Bresnan sparked a dramatic collapse when his rising delivery took Warner's edge following the departure of Usman Khawaja and from 168-2 Australia fell apart.

Ashes victory far from easy

"I actually think that at tea that England thought 'we're going to lose this' because Australia were doing so well," reflected Warne. "They then had to change their mind-set around and say 'we need some wickets, we've got to get aggressive and get after these batsmen'.

"Suddenly the intent changed; it was done by Tim Bresnan knocking over David Warner. It was a real effort ball that carried through and got the nick and then Broad got on a roll. There was a little bit of reverse and a couple of 50-50 decisions and away England went - they were too good.

"Once they got on that roll you could see the collapse happening. It was hard to stop that momentum. England were outstanding for that hour.

"When bowlers get that momentum up and that aggression and they get hungry, everything changes; nothing's sore, they're not thinking about anything else - they are just running in and thinking 'how am I getting this guy out? I'm going to give it to this batsman.

"It was hard for the new batsmen and you always felt that if they got a couple of wickets then they were back in the game.

"Before tea there were a few too many easy runs and that gave the batsmen confidence; they had a chance to regroup at tea and re-gather their momentum. Bresnan started it and it was backed up by Broad with a magnificent spell of bowling.

"He looks a different bowler when he pitches the ball up from when he bangs it in."

Challenge

England win Ashes Series

Australia's middle-order was powerless to resist England's attack as Broad castled Michael Clarke off-stump with a beauty before bowling a short ball that Steve Smith dragged on.

The Nottinghamshire went on to trap Brad Haddin lbw after Tim Bresnan had removed Shane Watson in familiar fashion, forcing Warne to admit that his country's batsmen simply weren't up to the job.

"I think they've stumbled across what their best available team is from the squad that they have," he reflected. "What they needed was that one class player.

"If you look at the side you say 'Warner and Rogers are both pretty good at the top. Michael Clarke is a class act and they wanted a bit more out of him in this series. Brad Haddin is a very good player and Shane Watson frustrates a little bit.

"If one of either Khawaja and Smith could just get a little bit better under pressure then they might have given England a bit more of a challenge.

"Australia were in a position to win three Test matches in this series. So although it is 3-0, it could easily have been the other way with a couple of things going Australia's way rather than England's.

"The one player they really missed was Mike Hussey. It was a shock when he retired - everyone thought he was going to go after this winter's Ashes in Australia.

"That was a big loss for Australia because Mike Hussey in that situation coming in at No 5 or No 6 might have made a bit of a difference with his experience."

Watch the fifth and final Ashes Test on Sky Sports Ashes from 10am on Wednesday 21st August.