The staggering stats from England’s record-breaking Bazball blitz in Pakistan

The staggering stats from England’s record-breaking Bazball blitz in Pakistan – Getty Images/Matthew Lewis

English cricket’s brand of attacking reached new heights when Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett propelled the visitors to an opening stand of two centuries on day one against Pakistan.

Telegraph Sport breaks down some of the more outrageous stats from a record-breaking first session for the tourists.

174

England’s score at lunchtime, their highest ever total in the first session of a Test

5

The number of runs England were away from the world record at lunchtime on day one: South Africa’s 179 against Australia in 1902

14

Runs scored by Zak Crawley from the first over of the innings, the most ever by an England player to start a Test

83

The balls it took for England to make their century up, a new record

50

The balls Ben Duckett took to reach his half-century. With Crawley hitting the mark off 38 balls, it is the first time in English Test history that both openers have taken 50 balls or less to reach their half-centuries

6.44

England’s run rate, the highest first session total in the CricViz database, dating back to 2008

141/0

England’s score after 20 overs. In the T20 World Cup Final, Pakistan finished their innings with 137/8.

86

The number of balls needed for Crawley to reach his century: fastest in England opener and fourth fastest overall.

Crawley beat Pakistan, but for some it may not be enough

By Will Macpherson

Zak Crawley shoots the ball at the border - Getty Images

Zak Crawley shoots the ball at the border – Getty Images

The last couple of years have been a time of famine followed by celebration for England’s Test team, but one thing has remained constant – Zak Crawley’s status as its most enigmatic and divisive cricketer.

Crawley’s supporters, some of whom are in influential positions in the England team, believe his fine hitting game gives him the potential to play bullying innings for years to come. His detractors believe he’s all style and no substance, and he can only do that when the conditions are right.

So perhaps, after his third Test century, few people will have changed their minds about him.

It was superb hitting, 85 balls, England’s fastest ever Test century. And he brought a stunning start to England’s first Test in Pakistan for 17 years when he put up 233 with his new opener partner Ben Duckett who also made a hundred.

Yet the tone was very flat and Pakistan’s inexperienced attack had a particular, combined feel. Ben Stokes’ victory was certainly a formidable feat, especially after the virus crept into the pitch and cost them Ben Foakes’ services.

Crawley had a dismal summer, averaging 23, including signing an unbeaten 69 against South Africa. This left him with an average of 27 in 28 Tests. It is not that his first-class numbers support his case for selection; in 87 games, he averaged over 30. Three years ago he was a gut pick and still is. There have been terrific peaks – he certainly loves playing against Pakistan, against whom he made 267 in 2020 – and barren periods too.

In Abu Dhabi last week, Crawley acknowledged he could easily be dropped again at the end of the summer, the fate which befell his opening partner, Alex Lees. Lees averaged more and made more fifty in the first seven games of the McCullum era, but was perceived as having a lower roof.

“I haven’t had my best summer so there were moments where I was like ‘I’m playing for my place here’ and I’m sure I was,” said Crawley. “I know they said they were backing me but if I didn’t end up well I doubt I would have come here so I think I was playing for my place and I definitely felt that.

“His skill set is not to be a consistent cricketer”

Earlier in the summer, Crawley received a significant boost from Brendon McCullum, whose job as England head coach requires questioning convention.

“I look at a guy like Zak and his skill set is not to be a consistent cricketer,” McCullum said. “He’s not that kind of player. He’s put himself in that situation because he has a game that, when he starts, can win games for England.”

So this was the Crawley that management saw. He’s put up 14 runs since the series began — a soft lead for four, a whiplash for two, then two beautiful ground drives — as he flew out of the blocks.

At one point, when he had 73 off 57 balls, he looked destined for a place in the record books as the seventh man – and first from England – to make a century before lunch on the first day of a Test. It even seemed possible that he might break Gilbert Jessop’s 120-year-old record for England’s fastest century, from 76 balls against Australia, which Jonny Bairstow came so close to breaking at Trent Bridge.

Neither was to be, as he dined on 91 from 79 balls. In the second over after the interval, he was disposed of 99, lbw to Naseem Shah, but was saved by DRS as the ball missed leg stump. The captain and the coach celebrated the success of the re-examination on the balcony and, two balls later, he had reached the finish line. As always, there were many borders: 21 when it was launched by Haris Rauf.

It wasn’t all easy. There was a loud lbw shout – probably just slipped out – from Naseem, when DRS was having technical problems. And besides the outer edge, there was another one from the inner edge beyond its stumps, and one from the upper edge that landed safely.

He was, however, a little unfortunate as he had an exclusive diet of Naseem, who at 19 is Pakistan’s most accomplished bowler used, by virtue of having played more than two Tests (this is his 14th). On the other hand, Duckett had no problems against gracious newcomer Mohammad Ali.

Another rookie, Rauf, also posed few problems. Crawley bowled him offside with a big drive, then through midwicket. Two crunching shots in front of the square followed, while the rotation of a third rookie, Zahid Mahmood, also posed no problems. She swept him well to bring up the fifty from him, and cut the midwicket beautifully.

Crawley has all the shots, but glitches as well, with the angle at which his bat becomes a concern. He spoke to Abu Dhabi about “trying to get away from technique and focus more on my mentality and mentality.” So far, it seems like he’s serving them well.

The challenge for Crawley is to back this up and prove his doubters wrong when conditions are at their toughest. With a confident start under his belt and a new opening partner who seems to be a perfect fit for him, he has a chance to do just that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *