Captain Ben Stokes, who won the coin toss and chose to bat after recovering in time from the viral bug, was not out on 34 off 15 balls. England batsmen smashed 73 boundaries and three sixes in a white ball fireworks display with the red ball.
“It was exciting from England’s point of view,” Pakistan coach Saqlain Mushtaq said. “The pitch was similar to the one we had against Australia, but it should have been a bit supportive.”
The coach was referring to the drawn test at the same Pindi Cricket Stadium in March when just 14 wickets fell in five days and the pitch was judged “below average” by ICC match umpire Ranjan Madugalle.
With no injured spearhead Shaheen Afridi, Pakistan opted to give debuts to three bowlers: fast bowlers Haris Rauf and Mohammad Ali and leg spinner Mohammad Zahid.
But none of the bowlers could get any help from a slow, grassless delivery. A girl was only bowled on the 39th over.
Surprisingly, Joe Root was the only batter to miss as he fell to Mahmood, who finished the day 2-168. Rauf (1-78) and Ali (1-96) shared the other wickets.
Crawley and Duckett plundered the first over for 14 runs and had 100 combined in the 14th left. They combined for 233 better than a run a ball before Pakistan took three wickets in the middle session as Mahmood and Rauf struck in successive overs with the old ball.
Mahmood broke the stands as Duckett went for a reverse sweep against the leg spinner and Pakistan successfully went for a TV referral against umpire Joel Wilson’s not out decision on the field.
Rauf then swung in late and clattered Crawley’s stumps into the next. But England’s intention to score quickly did not abate after the dismissal of the two-century makers.
Root was 23 lbw out when he was hit on the back leg while attempting a sweep.
Crawley was on 99 when Naseem Shah pinned him on the back foot, but Crawley successfully reversed the decision as video suggested the ball may have missed the leg stump.
Two balls later, Crawley achieved the fastest test century through an 86-ball English opener with a cover-driven boundary, and Duckett reached his first hundred by drawing Rauf to legside for four. “Pretty special day,” Duckett said.
Pope lashes 14 borders. Brook skipped six boundaries in one by debutant part-time spinner Saud Shakeel in the final session.
Crawley and Duckett stormed England to 0-174 in the first session.
Crawley missed out on a chance to become the first Englishman to hit a century before lunch in a Test match when he reached 91 as Duckett dominated Mahmood’s spin to make 77. Crawley was ruthless against Rauf’s short deliveries and Ali’s quiet average pace. also, to raise his half-century by just 38 balls with 11 fours. He hit another six bounds in the session and a team-best 21 over his innings.
Duckett dominated Mahmood’s leg spin with his signature sweep shots and didn’t hesitate to attack the spinner early with a back-swept boundary. He completed his first Test half-century with 50 balls.
The start of the Test was not confirmed until 07:30 local time after the Pakistan Cricket Board said England was “aware [them] they are able to field an XI, and as such the first test starts today on schedule”.
England had to make a last-minute change to their playing XI. Foakes was replaced by Will Jacks, who will make his test debut, and Pope will remain. Liam Livingstone will also debut.
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