Broad captured the prize scalp of South Africa captain Dean Elgar for 36 on Sunday for his 564th Test wicket, topping long-retired Australia great McGrath’s haul of 563.
Elgar had been in good touch but the Proteas’ most experienced batsman surprisingly decided against a review, even though replays showed the ball would have missed leg stump.
South Africa had been 83-1 before Elgar’s dismissal, which precipitated another batting collapse as they slumped to 169 all out in the deciding Test of a three-match contest.
When bad light brought a premature halt to the fourth day, England were 97-0, needing just 33 more runs on Monday to reach a target of 130 that would secure a 2-1 series win.
A 564th Test wicket for @StuartBroad8, the second highest ever for a seam bowler. https://t.co/mu5XtmWGcR
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) 1662901782000
Zak Crawley was 57 not at stumps, his first fifty in 17 Test innings, with Alex Lees unbeaten on 32.
Broad is now among the top five in the all-time list of Test wicket-takers, with only England colleague and close friend James Anderson ahead of him among fast bowlers with 667 dismissals.
But as Broad was the first to observe after equalling fellow seamer McGrath’s mark, he is in his 159th Test compared to the Australian’s total of 124 matches.
“I saw Jimmy got his 564th on September 11 four years ago so that was quite funny,” Broad told reporters after Sunday’s close.
“Glenn McGrath’s a hero of mine and the reason I wanted to become a bowler, I used to imitate him in the garden. Obviously he’s a much finer bowler than I’ve ever been but it’s incredible to be up there in that sort of company.”
Broad, the son of former England opening batsman Chris Broad, added: “It’s really special to have joined Jimmy as a one-two with him being a great mate and someone who I’ve shared a fantastic partnership with for a long time.”
The veteran duo of Broad and the 40-year-old Anderson show no sign of stopping anytime soon.
Their international careers have been rejuvenated by new captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum after both pacemen were controversially omitted from a tour of the Caribbean earlier this year that marked the end of Joe Root’s reign as skipper.
“It’s been an incredible summer to be a part of,” said Broad, with England now on the cusp of a sixth win in seven Tests. “I feel great. I’m 36. I feel like I’ve bowled really well.
“But the mindset those two guys (Stokes and McCullum) have brought to our changing room and to Test cricket as a whole has been so refreshing and invigorating to play in actually.”
“That sort of no consequences, trying to play on the front foot the whole time, I feel it suits my mindset and how I like to play my cricket personally.”
By going off when they did, even though the floodlights were on, the umpires denied England the chance to secure a win in just two days’ playing time after Thursday was washed out completely and Friday abandoned as a mark of respect following the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.
“We’re naturally disappointed,” said Broad.
“I do understand the other side of it, that it would be unfair on South Africa if it rained all day (on Monday) and we’d carried on just to finish the game. But as a changing room we’re frustrated.”