Zak Crawley hailed an “unbelievable” day as England’s attacking approach scaled new heights, with four players hitting centuries in a record-breaking opening day of the first Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi.
Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope and Harry Brook all reached three figures as England racked up 506 for four, the highest ever total after day one of a Test.
It was also the first time four batters had scored tons on the opening day, with Crawley hitting the fastest Test hundred by an England opener and Duckett and Brook compiling their first in Tests.
Crawley needed only 86 balls to bring up his century, which came shortly after lunch, and he hopes England can continue where they left off.
“No, I’ve never seen a day like that,” the 24-year-old said.
“I think it is the record in day one of a Test, so it was unbelievable. Ducky batted fantastically and so did the other two boys.
“Hopefully we can go again tomorrow, get a big one and get a thousand – I’m joking.”
Crawley and Duckett put on a mammoth 233, the fastest double century stand in Test history, for the first wicket, with the latter bringing up his own maiden century in the format from 108 balls on his recall to the side after a six-year absence.
Duckett was one of the players struggling with a viral infection which briefly threatened to cause the game to be postponed by 24 hours on the eve of the match and admitted it was less-than-ideal preparation.
“It all happened really fast, towards the end of Tuesday night it just came on,” the Nottinghamshire opener said.
“I felt fine going to bed and I found out the next morning that there were about 13 or 14 others, so not the best build up to a Test match and certainly not the best for me in my first one back for six years.
“But it would have had to have taken a lot for me not to come to the ground today and play. Stokesy (captain Ben Stokes) said, ‘Let’s get out there and let’s take them on’.
“I think if the game was yesterday it would have been tough, but I think the lads have all done pretty well today.
“The energy levels probably weren’t the highest this morning, I think there were some happy men when we won the toss and batted and gave our bowlers another day to rest up.”
Pope and Brook carried on in the afternoon session where the opening duo left off as England showed no signs of slowing down.
Pope played elegantly for a chanceless century, from 90 deliveries, while Brook briefly threatened to score the fastest ever century by an Englishman in Test cricket with an entertaining knock, including one memorable over in which he struck Saud Shakeel for six successive fours in an over.
The Yorkshire batter finished the day unbeaten on 101 from 81 deliveries, with Stokes striking 34 not out from just 15 to cap off an outstanding batting performance from England.
After an extraordinary day, Crawley stressed England’s desire to showcase the format, which has struggled to attract big crowds across the world in recent years.
“We’ve just been looking to score and be positive all the time and have a good attitude in the field and that’s been the biggest thing that Baz (Brendon McCullum) and Stokesy has brought in,” Crawley said.
“So that’s what we’re trying to do, more entertain the crowd than winning.
“Winning is great but part of our goal is to make people want to watch Test cricket and hopefully that’s happening.”