Cricket-England broke the record by 500 on day one in Rawalpindi

(Reuters) – Four of England’s top five batsmen struck hundreds against Pakistan in a record-breaking batting performance as the visitors went 506-4 on the opening day of the first Test in Rawalpindi on Thursday.

It is the first time in Test cricket that 500 runs have been scored on the first day, with England in top form on their first Test tour of Pakistan since 2005.

On a flat track and against a Pakistani attack which included three debutants, England’s batting looked like a continuation of their successful campaign at the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Openers Zak Crawley (122) and Ben Duckett (107) combined in a grandstand of 233 runs to give England a brilliant start.

Number three batsman Ollie Pope made 108 while Harry Brook, who was unbeaten on 101 off 81 balls, illustrated their approach best when he hit six fours in an over by Saud Shakeel.

Captain Ben Stokes was batting on 34 when bad light stopped play, no doubt to the relief of the Pakistani camp.

“It was the ideal start to the tour,” Pope told Sky Sports as he explained how the Crawley-Duckett partnership has set the tone for their dominance.

“He started from the beginning – 14 from the first over. He put them under pressure and they seemed to panic a bit.

“It felt like there was nowhere they could play those two. It was a perfect way for them to prepare us for a series.”

ANTICIPATED INTENT

Following Stokes’ decision to bat after winning the toss, Crawley gave an early indication of their intent, bowling three boundaries in Naseem Shah’s first over.

Crawley, on 99, overturned an lbw decision against him and went on to smash an 86-ball century, the fastest by an English opener.

Boundaries also flowed the other way as Duckett, playing his first Test in six years, brought up his maiden international century.

The eventful second session was more competitive though, with Zahid Mahmood and Haris Rauf picking up three wickets between them.

Leg spinner Zahid trapped Duckett lbw after opener’s attempt to play a reverse sweep.

Crawley started in the next round, bowled across the gate by Haris, after a scintillating stroke which contained 21 fours.

Joe Root failed to make the most of the tame pitch and thwarted a shot on goal against Zahid to go on for 23.

Pope went down after completing his third Test hundred but there was no let up for Pakistan as Brook delivered a stunning assault on Saud en route to an 80 ball hundred.

“They were all bad balls, so I tried to really put them away,” Brook said of the matter. “I was probably happier with that than my 100 to be honest.”

England were forced to alter their original playing XI after many of their players were sidelined by a virus which also threatened to delay the start of the match.

Will Jacks was brought in to replace stumper Ben Foakes, with Pope charged with wicketkeeping duties.

England will also play Tests in Multan and Karachi.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Peter Rutherford, Hugh Lawson and Ken Ferris)

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