Stuart Broad's batting struggles continued as England struggled in the Cape Town Test against South Africa. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
When Stuart Broad started out in his playing career, he was not only one of the top bowlers in England but also a very capable lower order batsman. His average in most series was over 25 and his score of 169 during the Lord's Test against Pakistan in 2010 was the highest by a No.9 batsman for England. However, after being hit on the head by a Varun Aaron bouncer in 2014, Broad's batting abilities have nosedived and his highest average in a series in the last five years ever since that incident was 47 against Pakistan but he has never averaged over 25 in any series of three or more Tests ever since 2015.
On the first day of the second Test at Cape Town, Broad's batting struggles came to the fore. He survived two balls from Vernon Philander as the bowler got the deliveries to swing back in. One hit his pads while the other was kept out by an inside edge which rolled to the leg side. However, the third ball which Broad faced from Kagiso Rabada resulted in a massive error of judgment. Broad geared up to face a short ball and had hopped a bit to the off side in order to potentially counter the bounce. However, Rabada slipped in a perfect yorker at pace. Broad, realising the error in judgment, was caught up in a horrible tangle. He tried to get the bat down but it was jammed on his back pad. The ball knocked the off stump out and Broad was sent back to the pavilion for 1.
England chose to bat on a sluggish Cape Town wicket but they were jolted early when Zak Crawley was dismissed by Philander for 4. Dominic Sibley and Joe Denly looked to steady the innings. While Denly focused on stone-walling the innings, Sibley was proactive and the duo stitched a 55-run stand. Sibley was sent back by Rabada and in came skipper Joe Root and he looked in fine touch with a couple of boundaries. However, following the lunch break, Denly could not counter Keshav Maharaj's arm ball while Root was undone by a superb ball from Anrich Nortje.
Ben Stokes, who had smashed the fastest double century at this same venue four years earlier, looked in great touch and took the attack to the South Africa bowlers. However, Nortje struck again by removing Stokes for 47 and Jos Buttler, who has struggled in Tests, struck some aggressive blows but fell to Dwaine Pretorius for 29. Ollie Pope defied the South Africa bowling and notched up his second fifty as he showed his mettle by batting intelligently with the tail. England would be aiming to reach 300 but South Africa's discipline has once again given them the advantage after a superb win in Centurion which summed up England's overseas woes.