RAWALPINDI: A slew of records fell when England’s batsmen played Pakistan’s shaky attack, running to a record of 506-4, batting four tonnies to take the early ascent to haul stumps on the opening day of the first Test here at Bindi Stadium on Thursday.
The tourists broke the 112-year-old record for most runs on an opening day of a Test, set by Australia against South Africa at Sydney in 1912. Australia at that time amassed 494 and it was the first time ever in an opening day of a Test match that saw a country score more than 500 runs . The English batsmen also broke a record four centuries, hitting 73 fours and three sixes in the process.
Zach Crawley (122), Ben Duquette (107), Ollie Pope (108) and Harry Brooks (101) all kept merry while the sun was shining. Even captain Ben Stokes (34 not out) showed signs of exuberance. England raced to 174 without loss in just 27 overs at lunch with Zak Crawley (99 not out) standing on the cusp of making a hundred and opening Ben Duckett (77 not out).
Crawley raced to his two-hundred against Pakistan in the second after lunch to hit another cover drive by Naseem Shah. His hundred was 86 studded with 19 fours for a total of 189. The opener was lucky to survive a close call at 99. The Decision Review System (DRS) rejected the field umpire’s decision to declare it. “We’re excited to be in top form at the start of the three-match series. What style of play we’ve adopted even in Test cricket in the recent past, said Crawley after today’s play.
Duckett (107) was not far behind as he raced to his first Test hundred, smashing 14 boundaries. But his happiness was short-lived as Zahid Mahmood chose his first wicket for DRS this time in favor of the bowlers. The opening pair put on a record 233 runs for the opening wicket.
Ollie Pope survived a close call and minutes later Crawley (122) was bowled by a neck and cropped by Harris for his first Test wicket. There was a hint of reverse swing in the delivery that dropped sharply to flatten Crowley’s stumps. The right-handed opener hacked 20 boundaries while hitting 111 balls. Joe Root (23) couldn’t stay on for long, giving first time Zahid his second wicket of the day.
England took the tea to 332-3, scoring at a brisk pace with more than six runs at a time. Then Bob and Brooks took over, playing along the same lines as was the hallmark of the overtures. Shortly after tea, Pope was the third English batsman to reach 100, scoring 14 runs during his fluent 90-ball wicket stay. He seemed more comfortable in his strokes and was seen completely controlling Pakistan’s hapless pace attack. Brooks also made full use of his friendly bowling and easy pitching conditions, hitting six fours for part-time debutant Saud Shakeel at the end to match the feat of three others with Jayasuriya being the last one to hit consecutive six fours for Hoggard at Kandy in 2007.
Brooks (101 not out) was the fourth English batsman to reach triple figures consuming 101 balls during his unbeaten wicket-taking stay. Close to pulling the stumps, Stokes displayed some good attacking shot to the delight of Bindy’s good crowd.
England won the toss
First tours in England
Zak bin Haris 122
pope lbw b ali 108
Root Labbo B Mahmoud 23
Brook 101 does not come out
Stokes (c) not out 34
Extras: (b 2, lb 6, nb 2, w 1) 11
Total: 75 over 506/4
Not hit: Will Jack, William Livingston, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, James Anderson
Falling wickets: 1-233, 2-235, 3-286, 4-462
Bowling: Shah 15-0-96-0, Ali 17-1-96-1, Rauf 13-1-78-1, Mahmud 23-1-160-2, Salman 5-0-38-0, Shakil 2- 0-30-0
Pakistan National Team: Abdullah Shafiq, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (centre), Saud Shakeel, Muhammad Rizwan†, Agha Salman, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Muhammad Ali, Zahid Mahmood
Judges: Ehsan Reza, Joel Wilson