Zak Crawley‘s scintillating effort with the bat helped England seize control on Day 4 of the ongoing first Test against West Indies at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
The visitors dominated proceedings right after Jack Leach dismissed Jayden Seales to wrap up West Indies’ innings for 375. With a lead of 64, the hosts would have hoped to put England under some pressure, especially after drawing first blood early in the form of Alex Lees (6).
But Crawley’s exhibition of stunning batting possessed with a range of shots led England’s fightback. From flicks pulls to eye-catching drives, the right-handed batter looked at the top against the pace trio of Seales, Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph.
Crawley was well supported by his captain Joe Root as the pair didn’t allow the West Indies bowling unit to capitalise after the first wicket fell with just 24 runs on the board. The tourists added 84 runs in just 101 balls after both the batters completed their fifties. In the 58th over, Crawley smashed his second Test ton with a double off Seales.
Eventually, the rain played spoilsport, and the umpires decided to call off the play with Crawley (117 no) and Root (84 no), taking England to 217/1 in their second innings, leading the home team by 153 runs. The duo formed an unbeaten partnership of 193 runs for the second wicket to put England in complete control with only one day left in the match.
“This innings is right up there, it was a really special feeling. I had a tough year last year and probably at times thought I wouldn’t get this opportunity again, so I am delighted. I was pretty nervous in the nineties, but [Joe Root] helped me a lot. He is probably the best batsman we have ever had,” said Crawley after the day’s play while talking to BT Sport.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
YES, ZAK! 1⃣0⃣0⃣
Total control. Great maturity 👏
Match Centre: https://t.co/gfeafIbJ4L
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) March 11, 2022
Zak Crawley has his flaws but ends up playing some eye-catching shots.
— Bharath Ramaraj (@Fancricket12) March 11, 2022
Don't think I've ever seen a batsman who looks so bad when he's bad and so good when he's good as Zak Crawley
— Toby Tarrant 🇺🇦❤ (@tobytarrant) March 11, 2022
This is the first time England have had two centuries in the same Test since Zak Crawley's other century, against Pakistan at the end of the 2020 summer. #WIvENG
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) March 11, 2022
— Vithushan Ehantharajah (@Vitu_E) March 11, 2022
💯up for Zak Crawley, his second in Test cricket🕷️
— Kent Cricket (@KentCricket) March 11, 2022
Zak Crawley with three figures to his name in Test cricket for the first time in almost two years!
— ICC (@ICC) March 11, 2022
Thought Zak Crawley did very well during that session.
He refused to get suckered into playing when West Indies kept hiding it outside off.
That’s not always been the way with Crawley who is a bit of a happy driver
Good to see #WIvENG
— Rob Johnston (@RobJ_Cricket) March 11, 2022
There is Zak Crawley's second Test hundred, and first as an opener. A flat pitch, but England were in an awkward position and he's played very well.
Anyway, England have scored more hundreds in this match than they did in five Ashes Tests.
— Will Macpherson (@willis_macp) March 11, 2022
Congrats Zak Crawley on his 2nd test hundred. Superb played Zak, 117* off 200 balls. What an epic knock it is,leading from the front to take his side to a strong position. Crawley the legend completely ruled day 4 👏👏#engvswi #WIvENG pic.twitter.com/m7IzTLDx2Z
— Ayesha Rootfied (@JoeRoot66Fan) March 12, 2022
Fifty by Zak Crawley. A really fine knock by the England opener, he played well with his captain Joe Root. England with the lead of 28.
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) March 11, 2022
Second Test hundred for Zak Crawley – England was trailing by 64 runs, lost Alex Lees for 6 but Crawley played an outstanding knock in the second innings on Day 4 and completed his hundred. #WIvENG pic.twitter.com/nq54XEiw9A
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) March 11, 2022