Cricket: England shatter all-time batting records despite threats to the game going ahead against Pakistan


England’s record-shattering batting efforts on day one of their Test match again Pakistan are even more remarkable when you consider the physical condition in which they started the game.

England became the first side in the history of Test annals to score 500 runs on day one of a Test, with four of their top five batters reaching triple figures.

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The visitors obliterated the Pakistani attack to all parts of Rawalpindi Stadium, finishing the day on 4-506 at a starting run-rate of 6.75 runs per over as Zak Crawley (122 from 111), Ollie Pope (108 from 104) and Harry Brook (101 from 81) all scored centuries at better than a run a ball, while Ben Duckett’s century (107 from 110) came at just under a triple figure strike rate.

Now, imagine how many runs they would have scored if they weren’t all sick.

The game was almost postponed as a virus ran rampant through the England squad.

England only confirmed they had a fit 11 and that the match could go ahead, just two hours before the toss. It’s been reported that up to 14 players in the visitors’ squad were under the weather.

On a flat track and against a Pakistan attack that included three debutants on Thursday, England’s batting looked like a continuation of their victorious campaign at the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Openers Crawley and Duckett combined in a 233-run stand to give England a blazing start.

Zak Crawley punished the Pakistan attack on day one of the Test. Credit: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Brook, who was unbeaten at stumps, illustrated their approach best when he smashed six fours in an over from Saud Shakeel.

Captain Ben Stokes was motoring along on 34 when bad light stopped play, doubtless to the relief of the Pakistan camp.

And, to think, the Test almost didn’t start.

“It was the ideal start to the tour,” Pope said, explaining how the Crawley-Duckett partnership set the tone for their domination.

“It started from the get go – 14 from the first over. It put them under pressure and they looked like they panicked a little bit.

“It looked like there wasn’t anywhere they could bowl to those two. It was a perfect way for them to set us up for a series.”

Following Stokes’ decision to bat after winning the toss, Crawley gave an early indication of their intent, smashing three boundaries in the first over from Naseem Shah.

England obliterated Pakistan on day one of the first test. Credit: Getty

Crawley, on 99, got an lbw decision against him overturned and went on to smash an 86-ball century, the fastest by an English Test opener.

Boundaries flowed from the other end too as Duckett, playing his first Test in six years, brought up his maiden international century.

The eventful second session was more competitive though, with Zahid Mahmood and Haris Rauf picking up three wickets between them.

Leg spinner Zahid trapped Duckett lbw after the opener’s attempt to play a reverse sweep.

Crawley departed in the next over, bowled through the gate by Haris, after a sparkling knock which contained 21 fours.

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Joe Root could not make the most of the docile pitch and fluffed a sweep shot against Zahid to depart for 23.

Pope fell after completing his third Test hundred but there was no respite for Pakistan as Brook launched an extraordinary assault on Saud en route to an 80-ball hundred.

“They were all bad balls, so I tried to put them away really,” Brook said of the over in which he struck six boundaries.

“I was probably happier with that than my 100 to be honest.”

With AAP

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