Bazball was in full swing as Zak Crawley blasted the fastest ever century by an England opener to ensure the tourists dominated Pakistan on the opening day of the first Test.
England’s build-up to the first match in Rawalpindi was marred by a virus that swept the team, but it was Pakistan who were feeling sick halfway through day one with the tourists on 0-233 with Crawley (120*) and Ben Duckett (107*) in command.
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Crawley took just 86 balls to bring up his ton, which included 21 boundaries to put England on track for a monster first innings total.
Duckett wasn’t far behind in a run-a-ball innings that included 15 fours to have Pakistan reeling on an admittedly flat deck.
In a frantic first session openers Crawley and Duckett punished Pakistan on a batting-friendly pitch Thursday as England raced to 174 without loss on the opening day of the first Test in Rawalpindi.
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Crawley was unbeaten on 91 and Duckett 77 at lunch after England won a good toss and maintained their recent aggressive style, dubbed “Bazball” after the nickname of head coach Brendon McCullum.
Crawley showed his intent right from the start, hitting three boundaries off Pakistan fast bowler Naseem Shah’s first over of the match, and bringing up his half-century off just 38 balls.
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Crawley could have become the first England batter to score a century before lunch on day one of a Test but was left nine short.
He has struck 17 boundaries so far.
Duckett, playing his first Test in six years, was equally aggressive with 11 fours in his second half-century.
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England’s robust batting was the ideal start to the Test — its first in Pakistan for 17 years — after the start hung in the balance Wednesday when several of the squad came down with a mystery virus.
Pakistan included pacers Haris Rauf and Mohammad Ali, spinner Zahid Mahmood, and batsman Saud Shakeel for their first Test, while England gave Liam Livingstone and Will Jacks their debuts.