Rawalpindi, 1 December 2022: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope and Harry Brook stroked rapid centuries on Thursday as England piled up a record 506 for four on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi.
Openers Crawley (122) and Duckett (107) set the tone with quickfire centuries against a young and inexperienced Pakistan bowling attack before Pope (108) and Brook (101 not out) compounded the hosts’ misery. Ben Stokes was also not out, on 34, when bad light stopped play, having helped England break a 112-year-old record for the most runs on the first day of a Test — beating Australia’s 494 for six against South Africa at Sydney.
It was also the first time four batters scored centuries on day one of a Test.
England’s fiery batting — with 73 boundaries and three sixes — lifted the gloom over the start, which hung in the balance Wednesday after several of the tourists came down with a mystery virus.
As if the punishment from the top three wasn’t enough, Brook — playing only his second Test — cracked six consecutive boundaries off one over from debutant Saud Shakeel. He is only the fifth batter to score six consecutive boundaries in an over of a Test, following Indians Sandeep Patil, West Indians Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan, and Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya.
Brook reached his maiden century off just 80 balls, capping a highly entertaining day for a crowd of 8,000 that included around 150 “Barmy Army” fans. He added 176 for the fourth wicket with Pope, who fell to pacer Mohammad Ali.
Pakistan fought back briefly in the second session when they dismissed Duckett, Crawley and Joe Root (23) in the space of 53 runs, but that was shortlived.
Debutant leg-spinner Zahid Mehmood was the most successful Pakistan bowler with two for 160 on an unresponsive wicket.
Duckett, who hit his maiden century after being recalled to the Test side following an absence of six years, was the first to go when he missed a reverse sweep off Mehmood and was trapped leg-before. West Indian umpire Joel Wilson initially ruled it not out, only to change his decision on Pakistan’s review.
Duckett, who hit 15 boundaries, put on 233 for the first wicket with Crawley — an England record for the first wicket against Pakistan. It beat the 1962 stand of 198 between openers Geoff Pullar and Bob Barber in Dhaka, then East Pakistan.
Crawley was bowled off a sharp delivery by Haris Rauf in the next over, the Test debutant’s first wicket. The lanky Crawley hit 21 boundaries in his quickfire 111-ball innings, his third Test hundred. He could have become the first England batter to score a century before lunch on day one of a Test but was left nine short.
Former skipper Root also fell leg-before to Mehmood, unsuccessfully challenging the decision.