England 506 for 4(Crawley 122, Pope 108, Duckett 107, Brook 101*) vs Pakistan
A quartet of centuries helped England plunder a record 506 for 4 on the opening day to put the tourists in command of their first Test appearance in Pakistan for 17 years.
No sooner had Brook brought up his maiden Test fifty, and he surged towards his century by whipping Saud Shakeel for six fours in one over to almost all quarters of the ground. Brook reached his ton off just 80 balls after he and Pope had added 176 runs for the fourth wicket and, when bad light ended play, he remained not out on 101 with Ben Stokes unbeaten on 34.
Crawley had threatened to become the first Englishman to score a hundred before lunch on the first day of a Test as he and Duckett set a solid foundation for their side, which had been laid low by a sickness bug just 24 hours earlier.
Stokes was among the worst affected but fronted up for, and won, an all-important toss after England were only able to confirm that they had a fit XI two-and-a-half hours before the start. They were forced into just one change to their intended team, handing Will Jacks his Test debut for a still-recovering Ben Foakes, with Pope to take the wicketkeeping gloves.
Crawley’s latest innings was next-level speed-wise, however, as he perfectly merged England’s assertive approach under Brendon McCullum with the need to make the most of his time in the middle while some of his team-mates regained their strength.
One of only four players in England’s original XI named on Tuesday to take part in an optional training session on match eve, Crawley opened with three fours off Naseem Shah so that England were 14 without loss in the most expensive first over of a Test in two decades.
Haris Rauf, making his Test debut after 57 T20Is and 15 ODIs, entered the attack in the eighth over, but Crawley continued to find the boundary with back-to-back fours either side of the pitch in Rauf’s second over and, after 10 overs, the tourists had motored to 63 for 0.
Making his return six years later after an excellent Championship season for Nottinghamshire, Duckett looked assured, his fortuitous slash through third to bring up England’s fifty notwithstanding, as he reverse-swept then ramped Zahid Mahmood to the fence.
Crawley brought up his half-century off just 38 balls, sweeping Zahid through fine leg for four, while England brought up their 100 in 13.5 overs and Duckett reached a run-a-ball fifty in the second hour.
Save for a hearty appeal for lbw, which looked to be high with no functioning DRS in the third over to test the on-field not-out decision, and a slash off Rauf which went just wide of a slow-moving Mohammad Ali at mid-on to move into the 90s, Crawley’s innings was domineering. He had scored 17 fours by the end of the morning session as he and Duckett took England to lunch unscathed with 174 runs on the board.
Pakistan, missing the injured Shaheen Shah Afridi and fielding three other debutants alongside Haris, in right-arm seamer Ali, legspinner Zahid and middle-order batter Shakeel, looked toothless and needed a breakthrough. They eventually got there through Zahid and Rauf in the space of nine balls.
On 99, Crawley managed to overturn his lbw dismissal playing around Naseem’s full delivery which rapped him low on the front pad but was shown to be heading down the leg side. Two balls later, Crawley’s deft punch through the covers brought up an 86-ball century, the fastest by an England Test opener and joint fifth-fastest overall.
Duckett brought up his maiden Test ton with a pulled four off Rauf, a beaming smile spreading across Duckett’s face as he soaked up the applause. His stay was shortlived thereafter when he missed his reverse sweep of Zahid and was struck on the pad in line with off stump, although Pakistan had to review Joel Wilson’s not-out decision.
So ended England’s highest Test opening stand against Pakistan and they went from 233 without loss to 235 for 2 when Crawley followed a short time later, done by Rauf’s reverse swing as the ball slid through the gate and took a deflection on to middle stump.
Joe Root fell lbw to Mahmood for just 23, burning a review in a bid to overturn his dismissal before Pope and Brook forged on.
Brook, who had pulled Zahid for six on the stroke of tea, helped himself to another six in the evening session when he muscled Rauf over deep midwicket. He brought up his fifty with a single in the next over moments before Pope raised his century working Agha Salman off his toes for one to reach the mark in 90 balls.
The fact that England still have the firepower of Jacks and fellow debutant Liam Livingstone to come on a batter-friendly pitch gave the hosts ever more to worry about overnight.
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo
#Match #Report #England #Pakistan #1st #Test