Broad lifts lid on Stokes chat that could have robbed him of iconic Ashes moment

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Broad lifts lid on Stokes chat that could have robbed him of iconic Ashes moment
Broad lifts lid on Stokes chat that could have robbed him of iconic Ashes moment

Stuart Broad has revealed that his sensational final ever wicket which won England the fifth and final Ashes Test almost never happened because Ben Stokes had planned to let someone else bowl.

With Australia leading the series 2-1 at the Oval on Monday, England required two wickets and Broad was tasked with bowling at Todd Murphy during what Stokes had told him would be his last over of the day because Mark Wood was due to take over with his monstrous pace. Two days earlier, Broad announced that he'd be retiring from cricket following the end of the series and an illustrious 18-year career.

After emphatically removing Murphy thanks to a superb catch from wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, captain Stokes changed his mind and afforded his team-mate one more over, which Broad took full advantage of by remarkably claiming Aussie rival Alex Carey as his final victim. That ended the 37-year-old's cricketing story in fairytale fashion and he's grateful that Stokes gave him the chance.

"Actually Stokesy said to me before the Todd Murphy wicket that this will be my last over because we need to get Woody on with the extra pace," Broad revealed to Sky Sports. "That (wicket) was the last ball of the over and I was running in knowing that was my last ball of professional cricket and my legs went a bit jelly like as I was running in.

"I just said to myself, 'Just hit the pitch as hard as you can' and he nicked it and that's why I was like, "Oh my god, he's nicked it'. I managed to get another over so it felt really special to finish on a win and be in the changing room with all the guys I've played so much cricket with."

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Broad lifts lid on Stokes chat that could have robbed him of iconic Ashes momentStuart Broad was told that he wouldn't be bowling what proved to be England's winning wicket (Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

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The former Nottinghamshire seamer had been developing a new trick during the course of the series, switching the bails around before bowling in an effort to disrupt the batter. It worked a treat to dismiss Murphy and the momentum took Broad into removing Carey a couple of overs later.

Reflecting on Monday's triumph, which levelled the series to 2-2 but still meant that reigning champions Australia took home the urn after a thrilling five matches, he added: "It was really special and really loud on Monday, the atmosphere was awesome out there and the little bail flick and getting a couple of wickets. I just made it up and I wish I made it about 10 years ago as I might have found a few more wickets!"

Broad has now begun retirement, although he hadn't come to the decision until during the fourth Test in Manchester. "I was so focused on the Ashes series and the games were coming so thick and fast, I didn't really have time to think of anything else and had to be fully dedicated to the task at hand," he explained.

"Probably towards the end of Old Trafford I started to think, the start of the last Test is next week, I'm thinking where should I go and just could not think clearly enough. I was emotionally tired on what was already a busy summer so far but I facetimed Mollie [King, Broad's fiancee] on the Friday night and she said, 'You've just got to follow your heart and say what you think and I'll support you either way'."

Nathan Ridley

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