Atherton hails Stuart Broad

Stuart Broad (AFP)
Stuart Broad (AFP)

London - Michael Atherton said Stuart Broad had thrived on his "public enemy" status after bowling Ashes-holders England into a strong position on the opening day of the first Test against Australia in Brisbane.

Broad, jeered by home fans at the Gabba following his refusal to 'walk' in the first Ashes Test in England this year, took five for 65 as Australia, who won the toss, were restricted to 273 for eight.

Brisbane's Courier-Mail had even refused to print Broad's name but former England captain Atherton told Sky Sports on Thursday: "The cricket correspondent is going to have quite a difficult job writing a match report tomorrow without mentioning his name.

"He is the kind of guy that will react well to all that kind of stuff.

"He is not easily intimidated, he is not easily ignored and he had a great day."

Meanwhile Andrew Strauss, England's captain when they won 3-1 during the last Ashes series in Australia in 2010/11, praised the way Broad dismissed home skipper Michael Clarke for just one with a short ball the star batsman could only fend tamely to short leg.

"Stuart Broad really went hard at Michael Clarke and from that moment on Australia have been on the back foot," said Strauss.

"It was a very professional day's cricket from England and Australia will be bitterly disappointed."

The lanky Broad dismissed Clarke five times during England's 3-0 home Ashes series win this year and Atherton, himself a former opening batsman, said: "I think he struggles against the taller bowler.

"Because of his bad back and various things he doesn't like to duck or finds it difficult to duck, so he likes to stand and play the short ball.

"So if you have got a tall bowler who can get steep bounce from not that short of a length it gets him into difficulties.

"It really couldn't have gone any worse for Michael Clarke, from a team perspective -- this is a below-par score on about as flat a pitch as you can get - and for him personally."

Meanwhile former Australia leg-spin great Shane Warne agreed with Atherton that Clarke had a problem when it came to facing tall bowlers.

"I think also for Michael Clarke, I think it is the type of bowler.

"I think what he has got is a little bit of a problem with that angle, but also at times he has had his back issue."

Warne added: "I would like to see him go back and playing it, taking it on."

Meanwhile Warne's former Test team-mate Mark Waugh voiced concerns about Australia's top-order.

"The batting is a bit of a worry for Australia," Waugh, one of the most stylish shot-makers of his generation, told the BBC.

"There was some pretty loose strokeplay from a lot of that top order.

"They batted like they have never batted at the Gabba before. They hung their bats out and fished at wide balls they could have let go. Some of the dismissals were very ordinary."

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