Veteran England seamer Stuart Broad has condemned the Dukes ball and stated that it was at its worst during Day One of the second Test against South Africa. The right-arm seamer reflected that bowlers have struggled with them all year.
There have been issues with the Dukes ball in the ongoing English summer, with the London-based manufacturer citing COVID-related struggles. In May 2022, the owner of the business that manufactures the balls admitted that the new batch had a problem with them going out of shape.
Speaking to the BBC, Broad slammed the balls that have been in use this summer, causing the bowlers to struggle. The veteran revealed that the cherry was the most out of shape on Day One at Old Trafford and that the umpires complained about it as well.
"They are rubbish, to be honest. We have struggled with them all year for some unknown reason. Today was probably the most out of shape we have had all summer. After about 25 overs the umpires were saying it’s out of shape but it’s going through the rings because it’s quite a small ball. We could tell how soft it had gone after that."
The 36-year-old's longtime teammate James Anderson echoed the former's views and said that the ball went out of shape after 20 overs.
"They felt better last week but the one we got today was a really average ball. It was out of shape from 20 overs, but it was small enough to fit through the hoops. It was frustrating because the umpires couldn’t do anything about it."
Broad's comments came after he helped take England take control of the second Test against the Proteas. He and Anderson bagged three wickets each as they bowled the tourists out for 151.
"From 40 to 80 overs, it’s been very difficult time to take wickets" - Stuart Broad
Broad further claimed that the nature of the Dukes ball meant that England might have to slog in the second innings for wickets.
"It’s been really noticeable, at every Test bar Lord’s. From 40 to 80 overs, it’s been [a] very difficult time to take wickets, you have to find different ways to do it. Wickets fall early, but you have to change it up 40 to 80. In the second innings we will have to adapt and adjust."
By the end of the day's play, the hosts reached 111-3, trailing the Proteas by only 40 runs. However, Dean Elgar and Co. lead the three-match series, having won the first Test at Lord's by an innings and 12 runs.