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Bold England sinks Pakistan on record breaking day | Cricket

This is not a computer game. Or one of those rounds of book cricket where the thumb almost always handily found the folded page with number six. This is more fantastic. 506 runs in 75 overs, four centurions – all on day 1 of the first test of a historic tour that was nearly delayed as half the tour crew suffered a mysterious bug less than 24 hours ago. You cannot script this. And it looks like there will be more.

By the end of the day, England broke a record that had stood since 1910, scoring at 6.74 runs per over. Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope and Harry Brook had all scored centuries, Brook most comfortably of them, in 80 balls. If the umpires hadn’t decided the light wasn’t good enough to go on then England looked set to inflict further grief on Pakistan in what looked like a free closing session where the visitors scored on – brace yourself – 8.28 runs per over.

During the day, England sent Pakistan on a leather hunt – scoring 6.44 runs per over in the morning session and 5.85 in the post-lunch phase – before Duckett and Brook took it T20 style to banish any pretense that this would be a Test match clear the way. . This was not England rewriting history. This was England tearing up the record books, punching Pakistan’s guts and literally mocking the long-held ideals of red-ball cricket. Armed with a daring style of batting, England are blurring the lines between formats, while simultaneously challenging and begging the rest of the cricketing world.

Seventy-three boundaries were hit throughout the day, mostly by pulls, thrusts and drives and some by the so-called unconventional shots. Unconventional perhaps for the rest of the world, but this is how England have been playing cricket for some time – a brand of fearless cricket with the fashionable Baz-ball label that has won them two World Cups in two years. Only this year have they embraced Test Cricket with equal enthusiasm. The first announcement of this intention was seen in Nottingham in June, when England piled 539 at 4.2 runs per over against New Zealand, the World Test champions. Second innings they chased 300 in 50 overs, ODI style, slowly warming up for this acceleration of cricket. Leeds happened next, as England scored well over five in 122 overs. And then at Birmingham, they left India stunned by chasing 378 in 76.4 overs.

But this? This is a serious and committed follow-up to a batting manifesto that many still find uncomfortable to recognise, let alone accept. If the ball is new and hard, the batter does not need to hide his bat behind his pads. And spinners shouldn’t be given overdue respect just because it’s a subcontinent field. As a result, run rates are soaring. Since the appointment of Brendon McCullum as England head coach in May, England have scored just five times from 14 innings – including this one – with less than four runs per over. And the core of this batting philosophy is to seek pleasure instead of getting overwhelmed. Like when Brook couldn’t suppress a guilty chuckle after hammering Saud Shakeel for six fours in an over. Ben Stokes was also seen laughing heartily in the dressing room. Rarely have the first days of subcontinent tours been so entertaining.

However, the field was partly responsible for this one-way traffic. “It was literally just like a T20 pitch,” Brooks, who is now England’s third-fastest centurion after Gilbert Jessop and Jonny Bairstow, told Sky Sports. Asked about that over, where Brook became the first England batsman to hit six boundaries in a Test over, he said: “They were all bad balls, I just really tried to put them away. I was probably happier with that than the hundred. “

Pakistan was clearly not the bowling side they take for granted. Missing the injured Shaheen Shah Afridi and playing four debut bowlers in Haris Rauf, sailor Mohammad Ali, leg spinner Zahid Mahmood and Shakeel, they had nowhere to hide on a quiet pitch that required strict lines. And the mauling may be far from over as Stokes is in trouble with Will Jacks and T20 phenom Liam Livingstone to come.


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