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Broad believes England could be on the cusp of a revival

Stuart Broad senses that a new beginning is under way for him and his England team-mates as they finally free themselves from the hangover of last winter's Ashes whitewash.

Stuart Broad celebrates after taking the wicket of India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar at the Rose Bowl cricket ground yesterday. Picture: Philip Brown/Reuters
Stuart Broad celebrates after taking the wicket of India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar at the Rose Bowl cricket ground yesterday. Picture: Philip Brown/Reuters

Broad (three for 65) and James Anderson (three for 52) had to work especially hard to take six India ­wickets between them as the tourists closed day three of the third Investec Test on 323 for eight in reply to 569 for seven declared.

But their deserved success, in batting conditions at the Ageas Bowl, is a prime indication to Broad, after some disappointing showings of late, that England are back on track.

A pep talk with the coach Peter Mooores appears to have done the trick for the pace bowler, who cited the return to form here of captain Alastair Cook and a big hundred from Ian Bell as further evidence that the talent at the core of England's team is firing again.

"I think maybe the [senior] players have put too much pressure on themselves — after what, since the Durham Test [last summer], has been a pretty tough run," he said. "Maybe we got a bit uptight. Before this Test match, Mooresy came to a few of us and said 'just go and express yourself - don't worry about having to take responsibility ... just go and play, like it's your first Test match'. I think that's shone through a little bit."

Cook and Bell, along with another century from new boy Gary Ballance, helped England pile up the runs before the bowlers got to work.

The defensive tactics England were forced to adopt for much of the winter have been hard to shake off for Broad. "It was a bit of leaving the past behind, and just going and expressing yourself," he said. "Personally, I am an attacking cricketer - and maybe [had fallen] into a defensive mind-set. That was the chat I had with Mooresy, and it freed me up a little bit."

The upshot is that England have prospects here of a series-levelling victory. "We're in a great position in this Test match. We hope the wicket, late day four [into] day five will deteriorate a little bit."

Although the off-spinner Moeen AlI picked up two wickets from false shots, Broad insists England profited from their collective discipline and industry. "We created enough pressure throughout the day. I think you saw that with Mo picking up the two wickets he did."

Half-centuries from Mahendra Singh DhonI and Ajinkya Rahane held England up, but Anderson and Broad still put themselves in elite company as only the third pair of pace bowlers to rack up 500 Test wickets in partnership - joining Pakistan's Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram, and West Indies' Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose.

Broad grew up marvelling at their deeds, and said: "To go into the company of Wasim and Waqar and Courtney and Curtly is a huge honour - four heroes of mine growing up. I think it shows the value of partnerships as bowlers ... Jimmy and I are constantly talking, not just out on the field but in nets together."

"Even now, we've played a lot of Test match cricket, I'll still ask Jimmy at the end of an over 'what shall I bowl?'

Rahane fell to neither, instead miscuing a pull at Moeen to midwicket. He said: "I was really disappointed, the way I got out, because I was batting so well. We needed that partnership to go on."

England, meanwhile, may still have the option of enforcing the follow-on - but not if the hard-worked Broad has any say in whether he gets a rest.

"I've not discussed it with Cookie, but if you're asking me it's 100% off limits," he said.

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