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Brook smashes 81 before Wood wreaks havoc as England beat Pakistan to take 2-1 lead in T20 series

Harry Brook smashes an unbeaten 81 before fast bowler Mark Wood wreaks havoc – equaling the fastest delivery ever – as England beat Pakistan by 63 runs to take a 2-1 lead in the T20 series

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Harry Brook played a stunning international breakthrough and Mark Wood bowled the fastest delivery ever recorded by an English bowler to turn Karachi’s cauldron of noise into a library last night.

Brook’s audacious unbeaten 81 off just 35 deliveries helped raise the bar from 24 hours earlier as Pakistan completed a historic first 10-wicket chase of a target of 200 runs in 20-20 internationals.

And with 221 on the board this time, Wood sensationally unleashed the new-ball ferocity England have sorely lacked during his six-month elbow injury lay-off.

Brook smashes 81 before Wood wreaks havoc as England beat
Brook smashes 81 before Wood wreaks havoc as England beat

The 32-year-old wreaked havoc in an opening two-over volley that matched the 97-mile-an-hour ball Steve Harmison sent down to dismiss Glenn McGrath in the 2006-07 Perth Ashes Test during the second of the two. and instigated a spell of four wickets for 11 runs that drowned out the Thursday noise.

Any doubts about a result that put England 2-1 up with four to spare were removed before the end of the powerplay, which left Pakistan with 29 for four.

Fresh from his unbeaten 110, Babar saw a Wood bouncer flash past his nose and then guided the next delivery straight to third man. Haider Ali came uncomfortably late on another short ball and was kept at square leg.

In between, Mohammad Rizwan was bowled by Reece Topley, another of England’s three returnees, and when Sam Curran hit one under his first over, it triggered another fatal miscue, this time from Iftikhar Ahmed.

1663958370 44 Brook smashes 81 before Wood wreaks havoc as England beat
1663958370 44 Brook smashes 81 before Wood wreaks havoc as England beat

Wood returned to the wicket of Haris Rauf at the death and finished with figures of 4-0-25-3.

The dominance of the ball during Pakistan’s latest mammoth chase was inconsistent with what preceded it.

There was simply no bowling at Brook in this blistering touch: always one step ahead, he read the field and then played with it, stepping the ball through gaps, over the fielders’ heads and on five occasions over the boundary rope at full.

His quirky strokeplay came during an unbroken partnership of 139 from just 72 balls with Ben Duckett, the other in-form batter on the tour. On only four previous occasions had England finished with more than the 221 for three they amassed here.

1663958371 776 Brook smashes 81 before Wood wreaks havoc as England beat
1663958371 776 Brook smashes 81 before Wood wreaks havoc as England beat

That they came together in the ninth over was lucky in itself: Dawid Malan and debutant Will Jacks both left in disbelief that they had pulled gimme balls to deep midwicket from Pakistan leg-spinner Usman Qadir.

Surrey’s Jacks proved more than ample duty for Alex Hales at the top of the order as England began to share playing time among the 20-man tour company, taking the fearless approach encouraged in the early stages of the innings to loft and hit holes during a 22-ball 40.

Brook took things to another level. Earlier this year, he showed his mastery of these conditions with the Pakistan Super League’s second-fastest hundred and he showed similar intent when he lifted Qadir for the first six of the innings.

He also showed no difference in spin and pace, highlighting his adaptability by twice hooking over the rope at long leg and also hitting straight after giving himself space.

1663958373 145 Brook smashes 81 before Wood wreaks havoc as England beat
1663958373 145 Brook smashes 81 before Wood wreaks havoc as England beat

The only time the 23-year-old Yorkshireman didn’t seem to put the ball exactly where he wanted to came when he inadvertently bobbled one from Haris Rauf off his own body and into the grid of his helmet.

Duckett played with the same precision in another fine display of sweeping against the Pakistan spinners and although his own half-century came up seven balls slower than the 24 Brook required, the momentum was such that Pakistan were tasked with surpassing their highest previous chase of 208.

Something that England’s advance work in the field considered fanciful. The tourists had intended to keep Wood back until the Lahore leg of this tour, but recalled him five days ahead of schedule to inject pace into their attack that was so poor as they tried to dislodge Babar and Rizwan in game two.

The inclusion of a left-armer used to give variations to the bowling attack, but this year England have used them as a staple in Twenty20 duties, and although they got away with playing a trio in the opening match of the series, David Willey, Sam Curran and Luke Wood proved too similar in the second, with their similar pitches and speeds.

And on what was a perfect night for English cricket, it was their two players in difference that made the difference.

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