Virus-hit England sealed their strong brand of Test cricket in their first Test in Pakistan in 17 years by compiling a world record 506-4 with four bowlers smashing hundreds on Thursday.
Zak Crawley hit 122 and Ben Duckett scored 107 in a killer opening stand of 233. Ollie Pope and Harry Brook shot hundreds in the final session in a stunning display of power hitting against Pakistan’s inexperienced bowling attack.
And the test almost did not start.
England confirmed that they had a heart attack 11 and that the match could go on with just two hours before the draw. Then she destroyed a bunch of records in just 75 shows before play ended prematurely due to poor lighting.
Their total of 506-4 was the highest on the first day of any Test, surpassing Australia’s 494-6 in 1910 against South Africa in Sydney. England also became the fastest team to score 500 runs.
Pope, who will stay on the wicket after Ben Foakes was unable to recover from a viral infection that hit the England camp, boosted coach Brendon McCollum’s aggressive style by making 108.
Brook was hit six fours in one by debutant Saud Shakil in the last session to reach 101 not out.
Captain Ben Stokes, who won the toss and elected to bat after recovering in time from the virus, was not out on 34 off 15 balls.
The England bowlers smashed 73 boundaries and three sixes in a white-ball-red pyrotechnic display.
In the absence of injured spear chief Shaheen Afridi, Pakistan opted to hand over a three-man debut. Fast bowling, goalkeeper Raouf, Muhammad Ali, and the spinning man, Muhammad al-Zahid.
But none of the bowlers could get any help from the slow, turfless pitch at Bendi cricket stadium.
Surprisingly, Joe Root was the only batsman to miss when he fell to Mahmoud, who finished the day with a score of 2-168. Rauf (1-78) and Ali (1-96) shared the other wickets.
Crawley and Duckett combined in a better-than-run stand at 233 before Pakistan picked up three wickets in the middle innings when Mahmood and Rauf hit successive runs with the old ball.
Mahmood broke the stand when Duckett went in a counter-attack against Legspinner and Pakistan successfully went for a televised referral against on-field referee Joe Wilson’s no-out decision.
Then Raouf swung late and stumps cut Crawley in the next over. But England’s intent to score quickly did not subside after the century-makers were dismissed.
Joe Root had been out at welterweight for 23 years when he injured his hind leg while trying to sweep.
Crawley was on 99 when Naseem Shah cornered him at the back of the foot, but Crawley managed to overturn the decision as the video indicated the ball would have missed the leg leg.
Two balls later, Crawley hit his fastest Test century with an England opener off 86 balls with a driven boundary, and Duckett reached his maiden hundred with a Raouf haul to the leg side for four.
Crawley and Duckett stormed England to 174-0 in the first innings.
Crawley missed an opportunity to become the first Englishman to crush a century before lunch in a Test match when he turned 91, while Duckett dominated Mahmoud’s spin making 77.
Crawley was tough against Rauf’s short deliveries and Ali’s sweet medium pace, too, to lift his half-century off just 38 balls with 11 fours. Hit six more limits in the session.
Duquette dominated Mahmoud’s spin with his trademark sweeping shots and didn’t hesitate to attack the spinner early with an inverted boundary. He completed his first Test half-century off 50 balls.
The start of the Test was only confirmed at 7:30 am local time after the Pakistan Cricket Board said that England had “informed (them) that they are in a position to advance to the XI and, as such, the first Test as scheduled will begin today.”
England had to make a change playing their XI in the last minute. Foakes was replaced by Will Jacks, who would make his Test debut, and Bob would remain. Liam Livingston will also appear.