Cricket: England break all batting records despite threats against Pakistan

England’s record-breaking batting performance on day one of the friendly against Pakistan is even more remarkable considering the physical condition in which they started the game.

England became the first team in Test history to score 500 runs on the first day of a Test, with four of their top five batsmen hitting three figures.

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The visitors obliterated the Pakistani attack on all parts of Rawalpindi Stadium to finish the day 4-506 on a starting rate of 6.75 runs per over ahead of Zak Crawley (122 of 111), Ollie Pope (108 of 104) and Harry Brook (101 of 81) scored all of the Centurys better than a run-a-ball, while Ben Duckett’s Century (107 of 110) was just under a three-digit batting average.

Now imagine how many runs they would have scored if they hadn’t all been sick.

The game was nearly postponed when a virus swept through the England squad.

England confirmed just two hours before the draw that they had a fit 11 and that play could resume. It was reported that up to 14 players in the visiting squad were injured.

On the flat and against a Pakistani attack involving three debutants on Thursday, England’s batting looked like a continuation of their winning campaign at the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Openers Crawley and Duckett combined in a 233-run streak to give England a blistering start.

Zak Crawley punished the Pakistani attack on the first day of testing. Recognition: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Brook, undefeated at stumps, best illustrated their approach when he smashed six fours in an over by Saud Shakeel.

Captain Ben Stokes was driving on the 34 when poor light disrupted play, no doubt to the relief of the Pakistani camp.

And to think the test almost didn’t start.

“It was the ideal start to the tour,” Pope said, explaining how the Crawley-Duckett partnership set the tone for their dominance.

“It started from the beginning – 14 from the beginning. It put the pressure on them and they looked like they were going to panic a little.

“It looked like there was nowhere they could bowl against the two. It was a perfect way for them to prepare us for a series.”

After Stokes’ decision to bat after winning the throw, Crawley gave an early indication of his intention, smashing three boundaries in Naseem Shah’s first over.

England wiped out Pakistan on day one of the first Test. Recognition: Getty

Crawley, at 99, got a lbw decision reversed against him and went on to batter an 86-ball century, the fastest from an English Test opener.

Boundaries also flowed from the other end when Duckett, playing his first Test in six years, brought up his first international century.

However, the eventful second session was more competitive as Zahid Mahmood and Haris Rauf conceded three wickets together.

Leg spinner Zahid caught Duckett lbw after the opener attempted a reverse sweep.

Crawley was eliminated in the next over and was rolled through the goal by Haris after a scintillating knock that contained 21 fours.

Unable to make the most of the docile pitch, Joe Root blasted a sweep shot into Zahid to leave for 23.

Pope fell after completing his third Test hundred, but there was no respite for Pakistan as Brook launched an exceptional attack on Saud en route to an 80-ball hundred.

“They were all bad balls, so I tried to really put them away,” Brook said of the over, in which he hit six boundaries.

“I was probably happier with that than with my 100, to be honest.”

With AAP

The young Marnus Labuschagne hits the nets in the front yard

The young Marnus Labuschagne hits the nets in the front yard Cricket: England break all batting records despite threats against Pakistan

James Brien

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