Recent Match Report – England vs Pakistan 1st Test 2022/23-2025

Lunch England 174 for 0 (Crawley 91*, Duckett 77*) vs Pakistan

An imposing opening partnership by Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett had England positively cruising at lunch on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi.

Crawley threatened to reach a century within the first session, scoring at an impressive rate to be unbeaten on 91 from just 79 balls at the interval, while Duckett, back in England’s Test fold after six years, reached 77 not out off 85. The pair put on an unbroken opening stand of 174 in 27 overs.

It had been an inauspicious lead-up to England’s first Test in Pakistan for 17 years, after a sickness bug swept through the touring camp on the eve of the match, and a decision on whether they could even field a fit XI was only announced two hours before the toss.

As it happened, they were forced to make just one change to the side they named on Tuesday, with Surrey allrounder Will Jacks making his Test debut while replacing Ben Foakes, who was still feeling unwell, and leaving Ollie Pope to take the wicketkeeping gloves.

Skipper Ben Stokes won a crucial toss and it was no surprise that he opted to bat first – for the first time since taking on the role earlier this year – potentially giving those in the side who had been affected by illness extra time to regain their strength.

Crawley and Duckett held up their end of the bargain on a batter-friendly pitch. Crawley, who had been one of only four players in the originally named XI to take part in an optional training session on Wednesday, opened with three fours off Naseem Shah, tucked through deep third then punched twice in succession through long-off, so that England were 14 without loss in the most expensive first over of a Test since West Indies’ 18 against Bangladesh two decades ago.

After seven overs, England were 44 without loss and Haris Rauf, making his Test debut after 57 T20Is and 15 ODIs, entered the attack but Crawley continued to find the boundary with back-to-back fours either side of the wicket in his second over, the 10th of the match, at the end of which the tourists had motored to 63 for 0.

Duckett, who played all four of his previous Tests in 2016, looked similarly assured, his fortuitous slash through third to bring up England’s fifty notwithstanding, as he reverse-swept then ramped Zahid Mahmood to the fence.

Crawley brought up his half-century off just 38 balls sweeping Zahid through fine leg for his 11th four.

England brought up their 100 in 13.5 overs and Duckett reached a run-a-ball fifty in the second hour of the match.

Save for a hearty appeal for lbw, which looked to be high and with no functioning DRS in the third over to test the on-field not-out decision, and a slash off Rauf which went just wide of a slow-moving Mohammad Ali at mid-on to move into the 90s, Crawley’s innings was commanding. He had scored 17 fours by the end of the morning session.

Pakistan, missing the injured Shaheen Shah Afridi and fielding three other debutants alongside Haris, in right-arm seamer Ali, legspinner Zahid and middle-order batter Saud Shakeel, went to lunch in need of some ideas as to how to prise apart England’s opening duo and make inroads.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo

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