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Pakistan v England: first men’s cricket Test, day one – live

Key events

26th over: England 172-0 (Zak Crawley 90, Ben Duckett 76) Haris Rauf, collar buttoned up to the neck, shimmies in. The pitch obstinately refuses to give any help but there’s a pinch of a chance when Crawley stands tall and pulls forward of square, the ball flying just past a slightly lumbering Mohammad Ali. Babar Ali wrinkles his nose in disgust.

”Thanks for your commentary at the crack of dawn.” A pleasure Stephen Nicholls. “I woke up a few minutes ago to find a score of 100+ for nought, when I’d been expecting either (a) no test match or (b) ENG 50-4. Can’t remember the last time we had such a good start to the series!

“How do you think Ollie Pope will do batting in the second innings at 3 after keeping for hours in the sun?”

It will be tricky! Especially for a ginger.

25th over: England 166-0 (Zak Crawley 85, Ben Duckett 75) Naseem Shah comes back for a couple of overs before lunch. The ground, which is filling up, roars him on – fast and pitched up. He errs a little wide and Duckett pounces, sending him spinning past square leg for four.

24th over: England 160-0 (Zak Crawley 85, Ben Duckett 70) Haris Rauf hauls back some control, with just a couple of tickles off the bat. On TMS, Andy Zaltzman reports that since the last wicket fell on this ground, 402 runs have been scored. That might put England’s superb morning display into some sort of perspective.

23rd over: England 158-0 (Zak Crawley 84, Ben Duckett 69) Part-time spinner Agha Salman ticks through a second over, with a four apiece to England’s batters. A somewhat ugly sweep for Crawley; a wrist crack of a cover drive for Duckett.

”What a splendid start!” taps Simon Hornbury. “Now I’m awake and following the match, I don’t doubt England will get on with resuming normal service.” I don’t think even England can cock this one up.

22nd over: England 148-0 (Zak Crawley 79, Ben Duckett 64) Babar presents the umpires with the ball, and the umpire seems to pull out a pair of nail scissors and cut off some loose thread. Haris Rauf, small little steps, stutters in. Just three from the over with twenty minutes left till lunch.

21st over: England 145-0 (Zak Crawley 79, Ben Duckett 62)

20th over: England 141-0 (Zak Crawley 79, Ben Duckett 58) DRS is back – Pakistan will be hoping that it comes to their aid, and soon. In the crowd a group of men hold up a huge Pakistan flag that billows behind them in the breeze, one wearing a t-shirt covered by Imran Khan’s face. The obligatory boundary for the over this time comes from Ben Duckett, who pulls the returning Haris Rauf for four.

Thank you for this image Tom vd Gucht:

“Another sign of how brave and up for the fight these players are taking to the field in whites whilst recovering from a bout of the squits. My son came home from nursery with an upset tummy yesterday and the first thing I did was dash to the shop to buy some pull-ups as a back-up incase he accidentally pebble-dashed his Spiderman. I’m pretty sure there’s no hiding an incident like that in cricket whites. Especially if you’re straining away or squatting down a lot.”

19th over: England 134-0 (Zak Crawley 78, Ben Duckett 52) Zahid Mahmood’s five over spell has so far notched up forty runs. Crawley, like a corn-fat princeling, sends his last ball spinning over long-on. 14 fours in his notebook so far this morning.

Fifty for Ben Duckett!

18th over: England 127-0 (Zak Crawley 73, Ben Duckett 50) A run a ball fifty for Ben Duckett on his return from the wilderness. Ben Stokes, looking magnificently oiled and tattooed in a grey vest top applauds enthusiastically. A smashing innings.

17th over: England 121-0 (Zak Crawley 73, Ben Duckett 45) Crawley starts and finishes the over with dismissive fours through midwicket. Babar is not over happy with Zahid Mahmood. I quite fancy pulling on Zak Crawley’s boots for 24 hours, standing six foot five and carting people about effortlessly.

16th over: England 113-0 (Zak Crawley 65, Ben Duckett 45) A supremely confident front-foot pull by Crawley bisects the two Pakistan fielders lurking on the rope, as Ali jogs in Angus Fraser style. A light mist hangs over the ground.

“Good morning Tanya,” And to you Andrew Miles.

“Prospect of someone getting a ton before lunch on day 1? That has a proper old-fashioned stat feel to it?” Almost nailed on, I’d say.

“Keep up the good work. May your tea stay hot and fresh.” A fabulous phrase for life! I’m pocketing that for another time

15th over: England 106-0 (Zak Crawley 60, Ben Duckett 43) After 14 overs in the T20 World Cup final, Pakistan had made 98! Mahmood’s third over is treated a bit more respectfully, with just three singles coming off it. A top-edge from Duckett brings temporary excitement, but it falls short.

14th over: England 103-0 (Zak Crawley 58, Ben Duckett 42) Mohammad Ali is pulled back for a second go – Babar Azam’s options looking limited here. The hundred rattles up, there’s a brilliant stop on the rope off a no ball to prevent Crawley picking up yet another four off his hip. And that, I think, is DRINKS.

“Morning Tanya,” Hello Edmund Bannister!

“If it wasn’t for the 4 year old walking into our bedroom at 4.57 or the 18 month old crying out 15 mins later I would have missed the start of the test! They’re just looking out for me … I think! Thanks for your sterling work as ever. I’m fascinated to see how this test and series play out and if the aggression can be sustained and successful overseas.”

You have my deepest sympathies – hope the little darlings can be soothed back to sleep.

Fifty for Zak Crawley!

13th over: England 97-0 (Zak Crawley 54, Ben Duckett 41) Off just 38 balls – with a tickle to fine leg – and then he’s after the more the greedy thing, three from a sweep off Zahid. It’s almost unseemly in the first hour. Super batting.

12th over: England 87-0 (Zak Crawley 47, Ben Duckett 38) I’m afraid I’ve got to pull the Bazball word out of its locker what with 87 from 12 overs and a run-rate of over 7. Three fat fours off Haris Rauf’s over, the short ball giving only opportunity for more run accumulation.

11th over: England 75-0 (Zak Crawley 35, Ben Duckett 38) The legspinner brings no relief – Duckett looks like a boy opening his stocking on Christmas day, unsure what to play with first. A sweep for a couple, a reverse sweep for four, and a dinky up and over sweep for four more.

“At the risk of inciting the jinxing gods of hubris, may I venture that this is already feeling like a rather good toss to win?” You may, Brian Withington. “Meanwhile it was reassuring to see you have nearly all the essential supplies in place for the early shift, but no dunking biscuits with your tea – surely some mistake?”

No biscuits in apart from those German Christmassy ones with an apricot filling which I couldn’t face a 4.30 am.

10th over: England 63-0 (Zak Crawley 35, Ben Duckett 26) Crawley cruising! Gloriously through the covers, majestically through mid-wicket. Haris Rauf trudges back to his mark.

9th over: England 53-0 (Zak Crawley 25, Ben Duckett 26) Naseem Shah floats through his fifth over on a stubbornly unresponsive pitch. Duckett pockets a streaky four and the runs continue to stack up. Shah pulls on his sleeveless sweater at the end of the over – there’s still a chill in the early morning.

An evocative essay arrives from Zain Malik! Thank you.

“On the dawn of December, the English arrive under the cloud cover of the Rawalpindi sky with all the pomp and ritual, all the excessive security protocols that Ben Stokes was looking forward to experiencing.

Pindi itself owes it’s relevance in today’s world to the British. This small settlement and it’s bearable climate is what prompted the colonizers of the past to set it up as the HQ of the the Northern Command.

As a “viral infection” is set to deplete the Three Lions, memories of the olden Empire days and postwar perceptions of our part of the world are rekindled. There’s something about a winter morning on the foothills of the Himalayas and the sound of the willow connecting on leather that invokes a nostalgic colonial hangover. With tea and biscuits, neatly lined white tables and Jimmy Anderson in the mix it won’t be hard to imagine a city with nearly a 174 year history with the visitors come to life to see an enthralling encounter.

With the English medical staff busy trying to nurse their team back to health, imageries of the past come to haunt us. Malaria, mosquitos, dysentery and sobriety will all be concerns the English will look to battle off the field, as they face the Pakistani pace battery and young Abdullah’s grit and resolve on it.

As the land of uncertainty and disease as this part of the world was once etched out to be, about which one English captain purportedly said “Pakistan is the sort of place every man should send his mother-in-law for a month, all expenses paid” this tour is about a lot more than just cricket. Ben Stokes and his men have rights to wrong. From the D.B Carr and Idris Baig fiasco to the controversial Shakoor Rana incident and most recently the backing out of the English at the last minute, this Test Series is a diplomatic mission. Stokes and his men have to bring the new, kind and understanding English to Pakistan, an England that accepts the world in all its differences and most certainly an England that has moved on from Empire. While Pakistan has to avenge their defeat in Melbourne and remind the English that they have a better head to head record than them at Lord’s. It’s one for all ages. It’s the English in Pakistan.”

8th over: England 47-0 (Zak Crawley 25, Ben Duckett 20) Haris Rauf, another debutant, takes over from Mohammad Ali. Three singles follow – the first of the innings.

An email wings in from Becky Chantry. “I’m in Cyprus at the moment, where it is a much healthier 7.15am, sitting on a balcony watching a glorious sunrise, looking forward to it hitting 23c.again today.” [sounds idyllic]

“I’m enjoying the positive start for England through your OBO but if anyone has a link to TMS overseas I’d be grateful.Hoping for both Crawley and Duckett to make strong starts here.”

I can’t see the link on the BBC home page – does anyone out there have a link?

7th over: England 44-0 (Zak Crawley 20, Ben Duckett 18) Naseem Shah tries the short ball, but Crawley eyes it up and swivel pulls it to the rope. Shah puts his hand to his face in agony. England rattling along merrily in the first half an hour.

6th over: England 40-0 (Zak Crawley 20, Ben Duckett 18) The boundary every over (except the third) count continues as Duckett pulls out his fish knife and delicately dibby-dabs Ali down to backward point.

5th over: England 34-0 (Zak Crawley 20, Ben Duckett 12) Super stuff from Shah, Crawley grabs four runs with a cavalier inside edge that flirts with the stumps.

4th over: England 30-0 (Zak Crawley 16, Ben Duckett 12) Babar Ali comes out of the slip cordon to pep-talk his new bowler, whose second ball is dispatched away for four through square leg by Duckett. A full ball brings two more and the umpire has a chat with Ali for running on the pitch.

3rd over: England 22-0 (Zak Crawley 16, Ben Duckett 6) A troublesome over from Naseem Shah, who hits Crawley on the leg first ball. There’s a huge lbw appeal but DRS isn’t working so no cigar. Another lbw appeal third ball followed by tight lines.

I’d love to hear from you if you’re up at this unseemly hour of the morning, do ping me over an email on [email protected], not the email above which is wrong and I will try to change now!

2nd over: England 20-0 (Zak Crawley 14, Ben Duckett 6)Mohammad Ali’s first ball in Test cricket is a loosener, which gets dispatched to the boundary by Duckett. Sky report that Ali’s superpower is bowling long spells and he has that reliable cart-horse air.

1st over: England 14-0 (Zak Crawley 14, Ben Duckett 0) Teenage sensation Naseem Shah runs in to the strains of Jerusalem and the Barmy Army trumpet. Crawley edges the second ball with soft hands, and it flies past Babar Azam for four, and he punches two more fours elegant boundaries through mid-off. The ground is pretty empty right now but Ali reports extremely heavy security so expects it to fill up later.

And off we go!

Respect to Ben Stokes for donating his match fees to the Pakistan flood appeal. This is Unicef’s latest report on the ground:

“Hundreds of thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed, while many public health facilities, water systems and schools have been destroyed or damaged. As the floodwaters have receded, the crisis has become an acute child survival crisis. Frail, hungry, children are fighting a losing battle against severe acute malnutrition, diarrhoea, malaria, dengue fever, typhoid, acute respiratory infections, and painful skin conditions. As well as physical ailments, the longer the crisis continues, the greater the risk to children’s mental health. Almost ten million children are in need of immediate lifesaving support.”

Hot water bottle, cup of tea and blanket over my dressing gown – the very epitome of Bazball.

Time to put the kettle on, while Jos Buttler, Kumar Sangakkara and Ian Ward discuss the Test with a heavily-decorated Christmas tree in the background.

Ali Martin

Our man on the ground is Ali Martin: “Hello Tanya and folks … lively morning in Rawalpindi … two debutants for England, with Will Jacks replacing the stricken Ben Foakes in the advertised XI and handed his cap – number 708 – by Ollie Pope, Surrey team-mate and now England wicketkeeper once more. Liam Livingstone, aka 709, was presented with his new headgear by Mike Atherton. Athers was trying to work out how many sixes he hit in his career last night … suspect Livingstone may end up with a few more. Heavy security on the way in, as you’d expect, and my driver could only get so far. A friendly policeman then gave me a lift to the entrance … first time I’ve had a machine gun at my feet in the passenger seat. Gulp.”

Pakistan XI

Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam Ul Haq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (captain), Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Agha Salman, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Ali, Zahid, Mahmood

Four debutants for Pakistan: batter Saud Shakeel, fast bowlers Haris Rauf and Mohammad Ali and legspinner Zahid Mehmood.

England XI

England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope (wicketkeepr), Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (captain), Will Jacks, Liam Livingstone, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, James Anderson.

Ben Stokes is looking very smart in his cap and blazer and confirms that Will Jacks will make his Test debut, alongside Liam Livingstone.

Babar Azam, also in cap and blazer, nods that he too would have had a bat but thinks that the alabaster pitch and lush outfield will work ok for the fast bowlers for the first hour and a half.

England have won the toss and are batting!

We are on! The players of both sides are out on the ground at Rawalpindi after England were able to muster enough troops to put a side together : Will Jacks plays for Ben Foakes with Ollie Pope keeping wicket.

Preamble

Good morning! At least I hope it will be. At the time of writing, it was up in the air whether the first Test would be starting on Thursday due to a bout of untimely sickness and diarrhoea which has knocked out more than a dozen of England’s touring party, including six or seven of the players. Only Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope and Joe Root turned out for the final practise session – which leaves rather a hole from numbers six to eleven in the order.

The original XI for the first Test was named by Ben Stokes on Tuesday: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, Ben Foakes, Liam Livingstone, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson, Jimmy Anderson.

A Test debut on the cards for the talented Liam Livingstone – big-hitter and spinner of the ball both ways, who hasn’t played first-class cricket for Lancashire this year and who averaged 13 in 2020 and 2021 with a top score of 25. Ben Duckett returns after six years away from the England side. The actual XI England roll out at 5am GMT, will be sickness-dependent – with both sides also agreeing to keep open the possibility of postponing the game for 24 hours if necessary. After all, if you’ve waited 17 years…

Pakistan are without Shaheed Afridi, who limped off in the World T20 final after taking an awkward catch, and instead the attack will be lead by 19 year old Naseem Shah. The batting line-up, led from the front by Babar Azam, is dreamy. Much depends on how quickly England can winkle them out.

Play stars at 5am GMT.




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