The drop by Stuart Broad off the bowling of James Anderson during the third England-Pakistan Test might not have made much difference to the result, but it will live long in the memory regardless.
It was a moment that sparked mirth, memes, and even tribute pieces, described as “magnificently brilliant” by one outlet. Azhar Ali, on 129, chipped the ball to Broad at mid-on, with the fast bowler shelling the catch.
He made partial amends by collecting the ball and running out non-striker Mohammad Abbas with a direct hit, going from the ridiculous to the sublime in an instant. But Anderson, one wicket away from a five-wicket haul, three away from becoming the first fast bowler to take 600 Test wickets, and having already had two catches dropped in his last over, didn’t see the funny side.
DROP AND RUN OUT! 😱
What a crazy passage of play… Anderson has a third drop off his bowling! But then the offender Broad runs out Abbas
Pakistan 261-9 #ENGvPAK 🏴🇵🇰
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) August 23, 2020
“I was inside absolutely fuming with that,” he told Test Match Special. “I didn’t know how he dropped it. Not only did he drop it, it hit him on his forearm. After the two that had gone down previously, I was in a pretty dark place to be honest. I think Stuart felt really bad, he apologised to me. They’re obviously frustrating when you get dropped catches, even more so when you’re nearing a milestone.”
He said that the reaction of wicketkeeper Jos Buttler helped raise his spirits. “But that evening, something that cheered me up, someone sent me Jos’ reaction behind the stumps,” he said. “Jos Buttler firstly put his glove over his face when the ball flew into middle stump and then secondly as he’s walking over to Stuart to congratulate him, he’s sort of out of the corner of his eye looking to see if anyone else was laughing hysterically like he wanted to. So he had that sort of cheeky grin on his face. I thought that was quite sweet and made me laugh and forget the moment.”
Anderson did take the final wicket to fall, claiming his 29th Test five-wicket haul, and did eventually reach the milestone of 600 Test wickets on the final day of the series.