Crawley tells England to ‘go again’ after they hit 506 runs on day one in Pakistan | Pakistan v England 2022

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Zak Crawley rather summed up the carnage that he and three fellow centurions had just unleashed, ending a record-breaking opening day for England in Pakistan by saying the team was targeting a first-innings score of 1,000.

After lighting the touch paper on his side’s remarkable 506 for four from 75 overs with 122 from 111 balls, the opener quickly stressed this was in jest; the way England are going about their Test cricket under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, it wasn’t a given.

Crawley said: “Hopefully we can go again, get a big one and get a thousand – I’m joking. We’re never really looking to score quickly, we just want to be positive. If they bowl 100 balls in a good spot, then we’ll block 100 balls. But if we get an opportunity to score, we’ll score.”

Score they did, Crawley’s third Test hundred followed by similarly rapid centuries for Ben Duckett (107), Ollie Pope (108) and Harry Brook (101no). The run-rate topped six an over, England surpassed an all-time opening day record of 494 for six that had stood for 111 years and the virus that swept through the camp and put the start of the match in doubt was a distant memory.

Duckett, savouring a maiden Test century on his return to the side after six years out and one of the afflicted 24 hours earlier, was beaming. “It would have had to have taken a lot for me not to come to the ground today and play. Stokesy said: ‘Let’s get out there and let’s take them on.’

“It has been a while since my last Test. It is amazing representing my country. One thing I wanted to do was, firstly score a Test century, but try and secure my place in the team. It is a good way to start.”

For Crawley it was a case of repaying the faith shown in him by the management during a tricky summer when the team shone, this patience a feature of England’s new collective outlook. Another is McCullum’s desire to entertain first and let results look after themselves after England’s harrowing 2021 that concluded with a meek Ashes surrender.

Asked if this rebooted side was trying to reinvent the way Test cricket is played, Crawley said: “It’s a tough question. We’re certainly trying to change the way we used to play, because we weren’t getting a lot of success doing that. The important thing is we keep getting better.

“If you look at teams from maybe 20 years ago, they might not be scoring as quickly as we are and it might be something to do with T20 and guys being very skilled.”

On his reprieve after overturning an lbw decision on 99, Crawley said: “I thought I was out but Ducky knew it was missing and has a good eye. It was an unbelievable feeling and made the hundred even more special.”

Duckett, with whom he shared a 233-run opening stand, said: “I think if it was hitting middle halfway up I would have told him to review it anyway.”

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