Fast-scoring Crawley and Duckett take England to 174-0 at lunch
Openers Zak Crawley and Ben 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.
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.
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.
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.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Abdullah Shafique, Imam Ul Haq, Azhar Ali, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Agha Salman, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Ali, Zahid Mahmood.
England: Ben Stokes (c), Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope (wk), Joe Root, Harry Brook, Will Jacks, Liam Livingstone, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, James Anderson.