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Pakistan vs England 1st Test: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett give Babar Azam’s side taste of BAZBALL

England openers Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett took Pakistan bowling attack to the cleaners after winning the toss and batting first in the 1st Test in Rawalpindi on Thursday (December 1). Crawley was especially belligerent, as he completed his 7th Test match fifty in just 38 balls with 11 fours in the opening hour of the Test match.

Crawley began the innings by taking 14 runs in the opening over the Test match against Naseem Shah and never looked back after that. The 100-run stand for the opening wicket between the new-look England opening pair came up inside 14 overs as Babar Azam’s side got a taste of ‘BAZBALL’ or England coach Brendon McCullum’s aggressive style of play.

Leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood and pacer Haris Rauf – who were making Test debut in this game – were clobbered out of the attack as well. Mahmood went for 22 runs in his first two overs while Rauf conceded 25 runs in his first 3 overs.

Duckett was batting on a run-a-ball 42 at drinks break in the first 14 overs of the game while Crawley was batting on 58 off 42 balls.

Earlier, first Test between Pakistan and England started as scheduled on Thursday despite several England players having been ill on the eve of the match.

The Pakistan Cricket Board said in a statement on Thursday (December 1) two hours before the scheduled start that the England and Wales Cricket Board ‘has informed the PCB that they are in a position to field an XI, and, as such, the first Test will commence as per schedule today at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.’

Several England players were affected by a virus ahead of the team’s first Test in Pakistan in 17 years, leading to discussions about postponing the start of the match by one day. Officials from both teams had agreed to delay a final decision on whether to postpone the game until 7:30am Local time Thursday – just two hours before the scheduled toss.

Only five England players – Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope and Joe Root – turned up for the training at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. The rest of the squad members, including captain Ben Stokes, stayed in the hotel as team officials said six or seven players had been affected by the virus.

(with PTI inputs)

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