Lunch England 174 for 0 (Crowley 91*, Duckett 77*) Vs Pakistan
Crowley threatened to reach a century in the first session, scoring at an impressive rate to make an unbeaten 91 off just 79 balls at the break, while Duckett, returning to England after six years in Tests, was 77 not out from 85. reached. Made an unbeaten opening stand of 174 in 27 overs.
It was an inauspicious lead for England’s first Test in Pakistan for 17 years, when illness broke out in the touring camp on the eve of the match, and a decision was made as to whether they could even field an XI, only Two players were announced. hours before the toss.
Skipper Ben Stokes won the crucial toss and it was no surprise that he elected to bat first – his first since taking up the role earlier this year – possibly to those in the squad affected by the illness. Hoya was giving himself extra time to regain his strength. .
Crowley and Duckett ended their bargain on a batsman-friendly pitch. Crowley, who was one of only four players in the XI originally named to take part in the optional training session on Wednesday, opened with three fours off Naseem Shah, ticked off deep third and then twice in quick succession through long-off. Punched, so that England scored 14 for no loss in the first over of a Test, the most expensive since the West Indies’ 18 against Bangladesh two decades ago.
Duckett, who had played his last four Tests in 2016, looked similarly confident, despite his luck reaching England’s fifty with a slash from third when he reverse-swept Zahid Mahmood to the fence. Delivered.
Crowley completed his half-century in just 38 balls before sweeping Zahid through fine leg for the 11th boundary.
England reached their 100 in 13.5 overs and Duckt reached his fifty off a ball in the second hour of the match.
Save for a hearty appeal for lbw, too much in the third over and without a working DRS to check the not-out decision, and a slash from Rauf that was just off a slow Muhammad Ali. It was wide. In the mid-on to go into the 90s, Crowley’s innings was crucial. By the end of the morning session, he had hit 17 fours.
Pakistan, missing the injured Shaheen Shah Afridi and fielding three other debutants alongside Haris, right-arm seamer Ali, leg-spinner Zahid and middle-order batsman Saud Shakeel, went to the lunch in need of some ideas. How to separate England’s opening pair. And make way.
Valkerie Baynes is the General Editor at ESPNcricinfo.