RAWALPINDI: A slew of records tumbled as England batsmen toyed with a shaken Pakistan attack, galloping to a record 506-4, hitting four tons to take early ascendency at the draw of stumps on the opening day of the first Test here at the Pindi Stadium Thursday.
The tourists smashed the 112-year-old record of most runs on the opening day of the Test, set by Australia against South Africa at Sydney in 1912. Australia at that time amassed 494 and it was the first ever instance that an opening day of a Test match saw a country scoring over 500 runs. England batsmen also smashed a record four centuries, hitting 73 fours and three sixes in the process.
Zak Crawley (122), Ben Duckett (107), Ollie Pope (108) and Harry Brooks (101) all made hey while the sun shine. Even captain Ben Stokes (34 not out) exhibited signs of exuberance. England raced to 174 for no loss in just 27 over at lunch with Zak Crawley (99 not out) standing at the cusp of getting a hundred and make-shift opener Ben Duckett (77 not out).
Crawley raced to his hundred, second against Pakistan in the very second over after lunch striking yet another cover drive to Naseem Shah. His 86-ball hundred was studded with 19 fours-total being 189. The opener was lucky to have survived a close call at 99. The field umpire's decision to declare him out was turned down by the Decision Review System (DRS). “We are excited to be in the best form at the start of the three-match series. What style of play we have adopted even in Test cricket in recent past was on display today,” Crawley said after the day’s play.
Duckett (107) was not far behind as he raced to his maiden Test hundred, smashing 14 boundaries. His joy, however, was short-lived as Zahid Mehmood picked his first Test wicket with DRS this time going in the bowlers' favour. The opening pair put on a record 233 runs stand for the opening wicket.
Ollie Pope survived a close call and minutes later Crawley (122) was bowled neck and crop by Haris for his first Test wicket. There was a hint of reverse swing in a delivery that nipped back sharply to flatten Crawley’s stumps. The right-hander opener cracked 20 boundaries during his 111-ball knock. Joe Root (23) could not survive long, giving debutant Zahid his second wicket of the day.
England took tea at 332-3, scoring at a rapid pace of over six runs per over. Pope and Brooks then took over, playing with the same vein as was the hallmark of the openers. Soon after tea Pope was the third English batsman reaching 100, striking 14 fours during his 90-ball fluent stay at the wicket. He looked more at ease in his strokes and was seen completely dominating the hapless Pakistan pace attack. Brooks also made full use of the friendly bowling and easy pitch conditions, striking six fours to part-timer debutant Saud Shakeel in an over to emulate the feat of three others with Jayasuriya being the last one to hit six consecutive fours to Hoggard in Kandy in 2007.
Brooks (101 not out) was the fourth English batsman to reach three figures consuming 101 balls during his unbeaten stay at the wicket. Near the draw of stumps, Stokes displayed some quality attacking shots to the delight of a good Pindi crowd.
England won the toss
England 1st Innings
Zak b Haris 122
Duckett lbw b Mahmood 107
Pope †lbw b Ali 108
Root lbw b Mahmood 23
Brook not out 101
Stokes (c) not out 34
Extras:(b 2, lb 6, nb 2, w 1) 11
Total:75 Ov 506/4
Did not bat: Will Jacks, Liam Livingstone, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, James Anderson
Fall of 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, Mahmood 23-1-160-2, Salman 5-0-38-0, Shakeel 2-0-30-0
Pakistan Team: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (c), Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan †, Agha Salman, Naseem Shah,Haris Rauf, Mohammad Ali, Zahid Mahmood
Umpires: Ahsan Raza, Joel Wilson
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