England head coach’s ‘bazball’ tactics stuns Pakistan
England’s head coach Brendon McCullum’s ‘Bazball’ tactics reaped rich rewards as four of the top-five batsmen smashed rapid hundreds against Pakistan in a record-breaking performance to pile up 506 for 4 on the opening day of the first Test on Thursday.
It is the first time in Test cricket that 500 runs have been scored on the first day, with England in dazzling form on their first Test tour of Pakistan since 2005.
England have stunned the cricketing world with their super-aggressive approach in both batting and bowling. They continued with their strategy in alien conditions in Pakistan too.
The match began as scheduled after England’s players, who were laid low by an unknown virus, were passed fit in the morning. On a flat track and against a Pakistan attack that included three debutants, England’s batting looked like a continuation of their victorious campaign at the T20 World Cup in Australia.
Openers Zak Crawley (122) and Ben Duckett (107) combined in a 233-run stand to give England a blazing start. No.3 batter Ollie Pope made 108 while Harry Brook, who was unbeaten on 101 off 81 balls, illustrated their approach best when he smashed six fours in an over from Saud Shakeel.
Captain Ben Stokes was batting on 34 when bad light stopped play, doubtless to the relief of the Pakistan camp.
“It was the ideal start to the tour,” Pope told Sky Sports explaining how the Crawley-Duckett partnership set the tone for their domination.
“It started from the word go — 14 from the first over. It put them under pressure and they looked like they panicked a little bit. It looked like there wasn’t anywhere they could bowl to those two...”
Following Stokes’ decision to bat after winning the toss, Crawley gave an early indication of their intent, smashing three boundaries in the first over from Naseem Shah.
Brief scores: England 506/4 (Zak Crawley 122, Ben Duckett 107, Ollie Pope 108, Harry Brook 101 batting) vs Pakistan.
Written with Reuters inputs
⚫ England’s 506/4 (75 overs) at Rawalpindi is the highest total on the opening day of a Test. The previous highest on the opening day was 494/6 (in 99 overs) by Australia against South Africa in Sydney on December 9, 1910.
⚫ The last time both English openers made Test centuries in the same innings was on March 9, 2013 — Alistair Cook (116) and Nick Compton (117) at Dunedin against New Zealand.