David Leggat on sport

David Leggat is a Herald sport writer

David Leggat: Broad's bowling perfect response to boorish campaign by Aussie paper

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Two days into the latest Ashes series and it's already pretty boring. Not the cricket, which remains a riveting sporting engagement, but the "we hate Stuart Broad" campaign from the Australian cricket family.

The England seamer, vilified for not walking when clearly out caught at slip during the last series a few months ago, delivered the perfect riposte with his six-wicket return on the first day at the Gabba.

Put it this way: if Broad had been an Australian, sections of the England media would have reacted in a manner just as over the top as some of their Aussie counterparts.

In that sense, they're as bad as each other.

These things become tedious pretty quickly and this business has about exceeded its useful life.

Even notable Australian players have cried "enough".

"I can't believe we called him a cheat. It's just ridiculous," said noted hard-head Steve Waugh.

Or current player Shane Watson: "I wouldn't walk because I enjoy batting."

Broad came up with an interesting line after the opening day.

He claimed a team psychologist singled out brash Kevin Pietersen and his fellow South African-born teammate Matt Prior, along with Broad as the three England players who would most thrive in such adversarial situations.

Certainly Broad had the last laugh.

Rivals of Brisbane's Courier Mail newspaper - who announced they'll refer to Broad simply as "the 27-year-old England medium pacer" - had fun with that stance.

The Australian newspaper likened it to the Nazi party being run by "a 43-year-old failed Austrian painter", or the man who shot JFK simply being known as "a 24-year-old gunman".

It's panto villain time but, as with the New Zealand rugby crowds' tedious jeering of Quade Cooper, it's surely time to put a line under the Broad-baiting.

For one thing, it hasn't worked for Australia and that's a kind of bottom line.

Among Broad's first-day dismissals was the Australian captain. There's an old line about opposing bowlers targeting the rival skipper. Have him on the run and the job is half done, goes the thinking.

Michael Clarke is too good a batsman not to make runs at some point in this series, but Broad did his team a huge favour on day one of the series.

That may have meant just as much to England as shoving the jeers down Australia's throats would have to the player himself.

- NZ Herald

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