Stuart Broad has singled out first-innings runs as England’s biggest issue this summer, arguing his teammates’ failures with the bat have made bowling selection issues a moot point.
Broad snared a five-wicket haul at the SCG on Thursday, returning with a bang after he was overlooked for the Boxing Day Test.
The veteran paceman and legend Jimmy Anderson were both snubbed at the Gabba, raising questions about whether England got it wrong before a ball was bowled.
Broad, speaking after play on day two, reiterated he was keen to play the first Test.
But the 35-year-old also delivered a sobering wake-up call as the tourists prepared to resume at 0-13 on Friday, highlighting how his side have logged first-innings totals of 147, 236 and 185 in this series.
“It doesn’t matter what bowlers you play, if you get bowled out for 140,” Broad said.
“Might be a bit brutal, but that’s the truth in Test cricket.
“You can dissect loads on this trip, but actually first-innings runs is where you live in Test cricket and we’ve failed to deliver that.
“We’ve got an opportunity tomorrow.”
Broad also warned against focusing on future series, rather than the task at hand, as speculation swirls about under-pressure coach Chris SIlverwood and captain Joe Root.
“Can we get back to the real basics of what’s ahead of us right now? How are we winning this next Test match,” he said.
“Can we have an impact in Sydney and Hobart?
“Can we win the next opportunity that’s in front of us? That should be a real focus.
“Because it’s all well and good planning for Ashes and planning for the next away Ashes, the world Test championship.
“But if you don’t win the battle in front of you, it’s all irrelevant.”
Broad noted Usman Khawaja, who celebrated his Test recall with a patient century, had given England’s top order the template on a pitch with “a little bit of uneven bounce with a brand new ball”.
Khawaja has scored more centuries on this tour than England’s entire squad, while he already has more runs than every English batter outside of Root and Dawid Malan.