ENG vs PAK, 3rd Test: Zak Crawley, Jos Buttler put England on top with unbeaten double century stand

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  • Zak Crawley smashed 19 fours in his impressive 269-ball 171 runs knock.

  • England ended the opening day of the third Test at 332 for 4.

ENG vs PAK, 3rd Test: Zak Crawley, Jos Buttler put England on top with unbeaten double century stand
Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley (Image Source: Twitter)

England survived an early scare to pile up a mammoth total of 332/4 at the end of the Day 1 of the third Test match against Pakistan at Southampton. Zak Crawley stole the show as he scored his maiden Test century on a sun-kissed Friday afternoon.

Crawley finished the day with an unbeaten 171 and stitched a terrific double-century stand with Jos Buttler for the fifth wicket. Buttler walked into the day with an unbeaten 87 to his name.

For Pakistan, the fast bowling duo of Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Abbas didn’t quite live up to the expectations. The pair combined for a mere one wicket after bowling close to 40 overs in the entirety of the day.

England’s opener Rory Burns’ torrid run continued as he once again met his nemesis, Afridi, early in the match. Afridi’s dexterity with the new ball forced an outside edge off Burns’ willow. Shan Masood made no mistake at the slip cordon and drew the first blood at Southampton.

After that, Yasir Shah picked two wickets and the youngster Naseem Shah got the prized scalp of Joe Root to reduce England to 127/4 at one stage.

Root once again failed to convert his fine starts into something substantial. Perhaps, the burden of captaincy is weighing just too heavy on the English skipper.

Since he inherited the throne, his batting average has plummeted gradually, and with the emergence of Babar Azam and Marnus Labuschagne, his name from the ‘fab four’ might be on the verge of a painful erasure.

If anyone, the day belongs to Crawley and Buttler, who worked in tandem, ensured the run-rates kept ticking over 3, and combined for 205 runs to pull the home side out of the misery. The partnership was a masterclass in clarity, composure and patience.

Crawley, a 22-year-old lad from Kent, looked way beyond his age en-route to his first international ton. He initiated his proceedings on a high note, scored a boundary off the very first ball he played, timed the ball beautifully in the initial phase and kept the scoreboard moving for the home team.

England also reaped rich rewards for its persistence with Buttler, whose performance, at least with the bat, in this series indicates that he might have finally cracked the code to survive in Test cricket.

For Pakistan, it was a sort of day where they dominated the game in patches but never did enough to take full control of the game.

On Day 2, England will resume their innings with the scoreboard reading 332/4. Crawley will leave no stones unturned to convert his 171 into a double century while Buttler will be aiming to add 13 runs to his tally to reach the second century of his Test career.

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