Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett both raced to rapid centuries to set a strong opening platform for England’s batters on day one of the first Test at Rawalpindi as the tourists reached 332 for three at tea.
The opening duo powered England to 174 without loss in the first session, but both fell in successive overs shortly after bringing up their milestones before Ollie Pope, who finished the session unbeaten on 48, took over where they left off.
Crawley was handed a reprieve just two balls before his century when he successfully overturned the on-field umpire’s decision, going on to bring up 100 from 86 balls.
Lots of runs in Pakistan 😅
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) December 1, 2022
It was the fastest ever Test hundred by an England opener.
It was also the batter’s first Test century since early March and the first by an Englishman in Pakistan since Ian Bell in the third Test in Faisalabad during their last tour of the country back in 2005.
Duckett then brought up his maiden Test ton from 108 balls, including 14 fours.
The pair fell in quick succession, with Duckett falling lbw to Zahid Mahmood for 107, with Pakistan successfully overturning the on-field decision, and Crawley bowled by Haris Rauf the following over for 122.
— ICC (@ICC) December 1, 2022
It was the first sign of anything promising from the hosts’ bowling attack, with Rauf bowling Crawley through the gate in an early sign of the ball reversing to send him back to the dressing room after 111 deliveries.
The runs came less freely than in the morning session with two new batters at the crease and Pakistan turning to spin rather than seam for the partnership of Pope and Joe Root.
The former England captain had looked comfortable and drove well before he was trapped lbw for 23 by Mahmood, leaving England 286 for three.
The wicket of the former England captain briefly threatened to halt the visitors’ momentum, but Harry Brook and Pope remained comfortable at the crease, putting on a 46-run partnership to guide England to an impressive 332 at the interval.