During his time as England captain Michael Vaughan was known as a motivator of men. To judge by the performances of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad on the first day of the crucial second Test, he has retained the knack as a pundit.
Vaughan used his newspaper column after England’s capitulation at Lord’s to float the idea of dropping one or the other – by way of a ‘wake-up call’ for a team that was growing dangerously accustomed to defeat.
As wake-up calls go, it would have been a full-scale detonation rather than a bedside alarm clock. Going into this game, Anderson and Broad boasted 946 Test wickets between them. They were nothing less than the most prolific opening partnership in history. It was a big shout.
Stuart Broad responded well to criticism and produced a timely reminder of his class
Jimmy Anderson took longer to pitch the ball up but was given his rewards after lunch
And while it is understood Vaughan spoke in private to at least one of the pair to clarify what he meant, the seeds may well have been sewn. You don’t play 254 Tests between you without developing an ear for criticism and a knack for survival.
Blaming bowlers for defeat, of course, is an old cricket pastime, especially after the batsmen manage only 184 in their first innings, as England’s did at Lord’s. But there is an intriguing dynamic at play, and it revolves around one simple question: how successful will Joe Root be in persuading his two old pros to pitch the ball up?
Alastair Cook rarely had much luck when he was in charge, and at times it seemed to define his captaincy. Even in these early days, Root will be keen to avoid the same trap.
The trouble has often been that both bowlers are suspicious of the floaty fuller delivery that invites the drive and therefore easy runs. But when it became clear that Headingley was in