On the first day of the Rawalpindi Test. The visitors posted a daunting 506/4 in just 75 overs against fading light that forced early stumps. Four of England’s top five players scored centuries. With their 233-run partnership. Openers Ben Duckett (107) and Zak Crawley (122) established a solid foundation. Ollie Pope (108) and Harry Brook (101*) added 176 runs to consolidate England’s early lead.
Naturally, this was only possible after early morning confirmation from the English camp that the tourists. Who had been sidelined by a bug prior to the start of this historic tour, had recovered sufficiently to field a team in time for the start. They still had to make one change to the team they had named, but Pakistan gave out four debut caps. In addition, the English openers had a good time despite the lack of experience of some of the home team’s bowlers. Who were already without star player Shaheen Afridi?
None of Pakistan’s five-morning bowlers could trouble the English openers, who put together a record-setting 233-run stand. Naseem Shah, however, figured out how to inspire one to nip once more into Crawley and crash into his cushions yet with DRS briefly down. The home side couldn’t audit the LBW call that was turned down, likely on the level. By that time, Crawley knew the pitch was friendly. So he settled in and scored three goals off the pacer to get off to a good start.
Crawley, in particular, activated the T20 mode, which made the attack even more relentless. In a brief three-over opening session, he took to Haris Rauf and hit five boundaries in ten balls. Soon after, Duckett joined the fun and defeated debutant Zahid Mahmood with back-to-back fours. Before the drinks break, England had scored 100, and the former hit his fifty with just 38 balls. On the other side, Duckett caught up with a run-a-ball fifty. The Englishmen had no trouble hitting some good balls over the fence in an incredible batting demonstration.
Of the 27 overs sent down in the first part of the day’s meeting, where Britain scored 174. Just eight of them didn’t highlight something like one limit shot while not a solitary one of them was ladies. Crawley, who only became the seventh person to score a century in a Test before lunch on the first day. Rewrote the record for the fastest century by an English opener despite only surviving an LBW scare on 99. In contrast, Duckett made his dream comeback to the national team after six years with his first ton, which came in 105 balls.
Zahid ultimately figured out how to welcome draperies on the 233-run stand when he tested an LBW not-out call. After ducking his attempt at a revere sweep, Duckett was hit in the pads and given the all-clear as the legspinner began his Test career. In the subsequent over, a full and quick delivery beat the opener’s inside edge and crashed into the sticks, giving Haris Rauf. Who had been sent to fence mercilessly by Crawley, his man?
After being thoroughly outplayed for the first 38 overs, Pope began ominously with three boundaries in an over before the hosts could score their first two maidens of the day. Zahid was successful in getting rid of Joe Root during Pakistan’s brief period of success with the older ball. Root had also been trapped in front after failing to sweep the leggie. After that, Brook and Pope continued into the game with the same fervor, always maintaining a run rate greater than six.
The pair’s massive partnership of 176 runs was yet another unsuccessful period for Pakistan, sending them scrambling for cover. In the same over that his partner scored his first fifty in Test cricket. Pope turned his 55-ball fifty into his third Test century in just 35 balls. But Brook quickly took over with a massive 24-run over off Saud Shakeel that hit all six of them to the fence. An ugly mix of half-trackers, low full tosses, and a few short ones. Even before drinks were called, the 450 was up.
Mohammad Ali struck immediately after the break for his maiden Test scalp. Trapping Pope in front and forcing Babar Azam to consider a review. The break did provide Pakistan with some respite. And to get going, the new batter hit a hat trick of fours for the third time that day. Ben Stokes, on the other hand, paused for a moment to let Brook take center stage as he hit England’s third-quickest ton. But Ali was out in the final over of the day with 4, 0, 6, 4, 0, 4.
England set the tone by scoring 174 in the morning session, and 158 after lunch despite losing three wickets in a short period of time. 174 once more in the shortened final session, which only allowed for 21 overs. Brief ratings: England defeated Pakistan with a score of 506/4 (Zak Crawley 122, Ollie Pope 108, Ben Duckett 107, Harry Brook 101.