Stuart Broad added yet another stunning spell to his already long list of devastating Test bursts on the third afternoon of third Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.
Broad scythed through South Africa in a 49-minute period during which he also surpassed Bob Willis to become England’s third-highest Test wicket-taker.
It was the seventh time in Tests that the Nottinghamshire right-armer has taken five wickets in a spell and left England on the cusp of a series-clinching win against the world’s top-ranked teams.
Just where it will rank amongst his best spells will be up for Broad to announce, but certainly it has plenty of competition:
Fourth Test v Australia, Trent Bridge, 2015:
When Broad finally does hang the boots up the first morning at Trent Bridge during last year’s Ashes series when he took 8-15 will almost certainly be his career-defining moment.
With James Anderson sidelined by injury all eyes were on Broad to step up in his absence and lead England’s quest to regain the urn.
He did. He did so emphatically that by lunch the famous little trophy was all but back in English hands.
Australia’s batsmen were rendered completely powerless by one of the greatest displays of bowling ever seen in Ashes cricket as they were skittled for just 60 in 18.3 overs.
Broad’s spell was complete with the iconic picture of the series too when he covered his face with his hands in disbelief after Ben Stokes hauled in a stunning catch to remove Adam Voges.
Fourth Test v India, Old Trafford, 2014
Broad was the chief protagonist as a record-equalling six India batsmen were dismissed for ducks on the opening day of the fourth Test in Manchester.
On a stunning first morning the hosts were reduced to four for eight, Broad removing Gautam Gambhir and Chesteshwar Pujara, either side of James Andreson getting Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli without scoring.
India made a slight recovery thereafter only for Broad to return and destroy the tail as he mopped up the final four wickets in the space of three overs to finish with 6-25.
Fourth Test v Australia, Chester-le-Street, 2013
Two years before his TrentBridge heroics Broad had ensured an Ashes series success at the Emirates Durham ICG with a burst of 6-20 in 45 balls.
England had already ensured they would retain the Ashes, after a rained-off draw in Manchester, but the series was still yet to be won after heading north up the A1.
And it appeared as though Australia would claw a game back when they reached 168 for two in pursuit of 299 for victory on the fourth day.
Broad made his move immediately after the final drinks break – when the England players exchanged strong views about the task at hand – as he providing a sign of things to come.
Broad found just enough movement in his first over after the break to beat Michael Clarke and pluck his off stump out of the ground.
The right-armer’s pace suddenly rose above 90mph and the wickets tumbled as quickly with Steven Smith, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon and, finally Peter Siddle in fading light, confirmed a third consecutive Ashes series win.
First Test v New Zealand, Lord’s, 2013
Broad fired England to a 170-run victory on the fourth day with career-bets figures of 7-44 as the Black Caps were fired out for just 68.
The first of his five wickets arrived in a 5.4-over period before the lunch break to put the game to bed after the tourists were left with a chaseable 239 for victory.
Broad and James Anderson bowled unchanged through the innings – just the second time England had done that since 1936 – as the tourists managed only to face 22.3 overs.
Hamish Rutherford had his middle stumps cart-wheeling in amongst a clatter of wickets that included Peter Fulton, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor.