Broad and Anderson picked up three wickets apiece as England skittled South Africa for 151, then lost three wickets in the evening session. Nevertheless, it was a good day for England, who finished just 40 behind.
There have been troubles with the Dukes ball all summer, with the London-based manufacturer blaming Covid-related issues. They believed their issue had been resolved, but Broad and Anderson both felt the ball they bowled with at Old Trafford was the worst they had used.
“They are rubbish to be honest,” Broad told the BBC. “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.
“We have to accept that this summer has been a malfunction and hopefully Dukes change it and get it right.”
Anderson shared the sentiment.
“They felt better last week but the one we got today was a really average ball,” he said. “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. It was all sorts of shapes. Everything but round.”
Broad added that it meant that bowlers have to get creative with how they bowl late in the innings.
“It’s been really noticeable, at every Test bar Lord’s,” he said. “From 40 to 80 overs, it’s been 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.”