The English batsmen, who had been ill with an unknown virus a day before, thrashed the Pakistani bowlers in brutal fashion on the very first day of the first Test match on a benign pitch . When the day’s play ended due to bad light, England were 506 for 4 in 75 overs at an astonishing run rate of 6.75 in test cricket . This is the biggest score made on the first day of any test match. Before today, no team could touch the figure of 500 runs. Earlier, on 9 December 1910, Australia scored 494 runs for 6 wickets against South Africa in Sydney.
In the match, Jack Crawley scored a blistering 122 runs in 111 balls with the help of 21 spectacular fours, while he also became the record holder for the fastest century for England as an opener. After him, Ben Duckett scored a delightful 107 runs in 110 balls on his return to test cricket , Ollie Pope scored a polished 108 runs in 104 balls and then Harry Brooks plundered 101 not out in 81 balls, hitting 14 fours and 2 sixes. Apart from him, captain Ben Stokes is unbeaten on a breathtaking 34 runs in 15 balls with the help of 6 fours and a six. Not only this, Brooks also achieved the feat of hitting 6 consecutive fours in 6 balls of an over. Both these batsmen will start the second day’s play. Had it not been for stumps due to bad light, the game would have taken 15 more overs and it is possible that England could have crossed the 600-run mark on the first day itself.
Openers Jack Crowley and Ben Duckett shared a 233-run partnership for the first wicket with century innings, smacking fours and sixes off Pakistani bowlers. A day before the match, five to six England players had become victims of viral infection and there was talk of moving the start of the match by a day, but on Thursday, two hours before the time of the match, the England and Wales Cricket Board called on the Pakistan Cricket Board. Told the board that its 11 players are ready to play the match.
Crawley, however, was among the players who did not contract the viral disease. He was adjudged lbw by the on-field umpire off Naseem Shah when he was on 99 but the decision was overturned after he demanded a review. He scored 122 runs in 111 balls with the help of 21 fours. Duckett, who was included in the Test team for the first time in six years, celebrated his return by scoring 107 runs in 110 balls with the help of 15 fours. This is his first century in Test.
Although Pakistan bounced back in the second session with three wickets, Crawley and Duckett shared a 233-run partnership in fewer balls, continuing coach Brendon McCullum’s aggressive approach to Test cricket. Leg-spinners Zahid Mahmood (2/160) and Haris Rauf (1/78) removed both the openers in successive deliveries. Former captain Joe Root was lbw to Zahid after scoring 23 runs in quick time .
The England team had to make changes in the playing XI due to viral infection. Will Jacks was included in the squad in place of wicketkeeper Ben Fox. Jacks and Liam Livingstone made their debuts in this match.