Broad delights in overdue win
6:49am Monday 3rd March 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Stuart Broad spoke of pure elation, rather than relief, after he and Ravi Bopara had dragged England to a badly-needed and overdue victory.
There must have been mixed feelings behind the broad smiles, though, at recovering from 105 for seven to beat West Indies by three wickets - in pursuit of only 159 all out - and ensure another winning opportunity did not evade England.
The tourists appeared odds-on for another disappointment, a 14th defeat in 15 matches this winter and a fourth successive lost series, despite having bowled especially well on an awkward pitch.
Instead, Bopara and Broad shared an unbroken stand of 58 to level the one-day international series score at 1-1 with a decider to come on Wednesday back at this same venue - the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
"It's not so much relief," said Broad, who nonetheless referenced instances of England's recent failures to convert advantageous positions.
"At the halfway stage, we were obviously delighted. We just needed the top order to play us through and take responsibility.
"We didn't manage to do that, and we had a Champions Trophy final-type wobble in the middle.
"But we got over the line, and that's the most important thing."
England faltered in that showpiece match against India last summer, but have had many more setbacks since then in a shambolic Ashes winter.
"Certainly, I would have been hugely disappointed sat here 2-0 down after some of the cricket we've played," added the winning captain.
"On Friday [in the first match], we played 75 per cent of the cricket, and lost the game.
"It would have been a huge setback to lose today, having done some great things.
"It would have been like slamming your head against a brick wall really."
Although debutant spinner Stephen Parry (three for 32) was a slightly quirky choice as man-of-the-match, it was Bopara - at the age of 28, returning to the scene of a memorable half-century in a losing cause seven years ago - who got England out of trouble.
Broad denied there were any extra nerves because of England's recent losing habit.
"Whenever there's a tight game involving the pressure of international cricket, everyone gets a little bit nervous.
"But that's almost why you play sport. That's why sport is awesome.
"It could have gone either way. We rode a little bit of luck, but we ended up coming out on top.
"There's 30 people in that English changing-room who have huge smiles on their faces.
"I think it was probably the perfect bowling display ... our spinners looked dangerous, and we took wickets throughout.
"I thought with our fielding, the work we've put in really showed."
Bopara vindicated his deployment in the low middle order, according to his captain.
"That's why Ravi is batting at seven.
"For a player of his quality, with a one-day double-hundred for Essex, it does seem low.
"But we know that in one-day international cricket, that's the pressure time to bat.
"He showed a lot of clarity in what he wanted to do, and it's a really positive step forward for him.
"He's played a hundred one-day internationals, and he showed his experience today."
Long before then, West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo's dismissal to an unusual stumping during a promising stand with Lendl Simmons (70) was a controversial turning point.
Jos Buttler lost control of the ball, but third umpire Marais Erasmus concluded it had dislodged the stumps anyway before the wicketkeeper's gloves did.
Broad said: "Jos was very unsure whether he'd taken it cleanly or not.
"I think it was one of those that, if you're on the batting side, you're very disappointed it's given out - but if you're on the fielding side, you're delighted."
Windies coach Ottis Gibson, unsurprisingly, had a different take.
"I'm still confused," he said.
"I never saw anything that said the ball hit the stumps ... but we're not allowed to discuss those things.
"The captain was in, and was getting a good score, got 80 odd in the first game ... that was a turning point.
"There was nothing conclusive for us upstairs. I'm sure they know why they gave it out, but it changed the game from our point of view."