"Perhaps England have to make a bold call this week at Headingley and consider leaving out one of James Anderson or Stuart Broad," Michael Vaughan wrote in The Telegraph ahead of England's Test win at Headingley spearheaded by the two legendary seamers.

While it might be harsh to judge Vaughan on retrospect, Stuart Broad and James Anderson haven't been poor by any stretch of one’s imagination. Despite the Ashes melodrama and the drawn series against the Kiwis, the fact remains that England's problems stem from a lacklustre batting unit.

When Vaughan went on a criticism-spree what he failed to look into was where exactly the problem stemmed from.

"Anderson’s record at Headingley has improved in recent years but neither has particularly enjoyed bowling in Leeds, which requires a fuller length. I am sure England will pick both of them but it might be an idea just to consider doing something different because at the moment it is not working. England are losing. The Test team are just not playing very well and something has to be done. Anderson and Broad are brilliant bowlers but it would be a wake-up call if one was left out,” Vaughan had written.

Yet, in the first day of the Test, Broad went about dismantling Vaughan's words with a red Dukes ball, swinging and seaming it at will to befuddle hapless Pakistani batsmen. His opening spell reeked of aggression and he had Pakistan on haunches before the lunch break on day one.

Anderson was equally penetrative in the second innings but it was Broad who took it upon himself to give a tongue-in-cheek reply to the former England skipper.

"I spoke to the press after play on Friday night and was asked about the views of a pundit who had criticised me. Fair enough, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but surely that also means players have the right to respond to comments made about them?,” Broad loosely hinted at Vaughan's misfired words.

With a notable change in length of attack, Broad kept the ball fuller, swung it more and used the overhead conditions to wreck havoc. The length which he continually hit was the most full he had ever bowled in England as per CricViz which estimated that atleast 67% of his balls were full in the first innings. Close to 25% of them were played and missed at.

Such was Broad's spell that Joe Root persisted with him for seven overs upfront in the first innings. The mesmerising spell read 7-3-14-2. Very few, including Vaughan, realise the actual value Broad brings to this England side. When he hits his rhythm, the English seamer invariably has the opposition hunting for cover. With a consistently in-your-face James Anderson as his partner, Broad poses a huge threat.

Anderson himself had a Test of redemption as he found his swing and rhythm, picking out Azhar Ali with a jaffa in the second innings. He finished with five wickets across innings’ in the Test and despite being average by his own high standards, Anderson had Pakistan sweating.

This brings us to the ultimate question. Was Vaughan wrong only in hindsight? The records show Anderson and Broad have been terrific in the last few months despite England’s horrifying Test run.

Since the inception of the 2017 Ashes, Anderson is the third best seamer in the wicket-takers chart, snapping up 34 wickets in 9 Tests at an average of 24.85, better than Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Vernon Philander. Stuart Broad’s numbers aren't as good although it is by no means poor. In 9 Tests, Broad has 29 wickets at an average a shade shy of 30.

The calls for dropping Anderson and Broad being misplaced is better understood by considering the replacements available. Mark Wood and Craig Overton have been anything but great. Sam Curran appeared a decent pick at Leeds but that happened to be his debut Test. Tom Curran appeared anything but convincing in his two outings while Toby Roland-Jones continues to be on the sidelines owing to injury. Someone like the unexperimented Jamie Porter, whose First-class record is drool worthy, seems to be the only back-up option worth time England haven't tried.

With spells like the Headingley one, Anderson and Broad remain the go-to-men for England in Test cricket. With words to spur on the experienced duo, the Anderson-Broad era is nowhere close to coming to a halt. Vaughan, though, chose to bite back at Broad’s response.

“You’ve got to be careful when you choose the time to come out and attack, which Stuart did last night. I got the sense it was, 'You can't criticise me. I'm Stuart Broad and I've been in the team for a long time. They haven’t won the Test match yet. The comments last night were geared as if they’ve won the game. He’s a senior member of the team and I just don’t think it was the right time to plan that attack. He should have played a straight bat to the questions. He probably went on one because it’s been building up,” Vaughan said after Broad publically claimed that he was being wrongly criticised. But if it helps improve performances to this level, Broad should probably fire back the moment he is criticised. Can someone prompt Vaughan for a batch of new bullets before the Indian series?