From castling batsmen all around the world to terrorizing the best of the batters with their prodigious swing – England’s veteran pace bowling duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad have scripted several memorable triumphs for the country over the years. Despite their domination in red-ball cricket, Broad and Anderson named one batsman against whom they struggled and found it hard to adjust their line or length. The English duo named former South African skipper Graeme Smith to be one of the toughest batsmen to bowl to in their careers.

The 39-year-old Smith enjoyed great success against England in the 21 Tests he played. He scored seven hundreds and averaging almost 57 against Three Lions, with the high point being his consecutive double centuries against them in 2003.

“Graeme Smith, I found an absolute nightmare,” Broad said in an Instagram Live video with Anderson.

“I wish I could have bowled at him having worked on my around the wicket stuff and try and draw him to drive through extra cover.

“But for me just over the wicket trying to swing it into the stumps, hopeless.”

Anderson echoed the sentiments and revealed that had no idea how to quell Smith’s prolific scoring through the leg side. He said: “I had exactly the same problem. When I first started, my first series against him was 2003 and all I could do then was swing the ball back in. I didn’t have an out-swinger to a left-hander and I couldn’t wobble the ball across him. So I was just feeding his strength. I just go so annoyed.”

Smith’s greatest performance as a Test player came during South Africa’s tour of England in 2003. His twin double hundreds – 277 and 259 at Edgbaston and Lord’s respectively to start the series was the catalyst in helping Proteas register memorable wins.

Now, Broad and Anderson have sights on the Ashes which will be played in Australia and both believe that is a series they can remain in shape for. “I don’t think I could go until your age,” Broad told Anderson in an Instagram live chat. “Your action’s so smooth, it looks a lot calmer on your body whereas mine is a little more forceful through my body I think.

“But I’m loving the environment at the minute. I love playing for England. I still have a huge motivation to keep playing and you just assess that year by year. And we’ve got that carrot dangling over us of Australia in Australia which looks like an achievable carrot to grab.”

Anderson said that fitness was his prime focus. “The big thing is standards. If your standards feel like they’re dropping then yeah you might consider finishing,” Anderson said.

“But as long as my standards stay high, my fitness levels stay good and my skills stay where I want them to be and my speed stays pretty good which they have been (I’ll keep playing).”