England batsmen tore Pakistan's bowling apart and broke the world record for most runs scored on the opening day of a Test during the series opener in Rawalpindi on Thursday.
Openers Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett and one-down batsman Ollie Pope hit quick centuries while Harry Brook scored an unbeaten 101 from just 81 balls as England raced to 506-4 in just 75 overs when early stumps were called due to bad light.
England thus became the first team to score 500 runs on the opening day of a Test. The previous record was 494 by Australia against South Africa in Sydney way back in 1910.
More than 500 runs in a day has only been achieved on four other occasions but never on the first day.
It was a stunning response from England, who were in danger of not competing at all. 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 on Thursday - just two hours before the scheduled toss.
Only five England players - Brook, Crawley, Keaton Jennings, Pope and Joe Root - turned up for the training 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.
But England did take to the field, and decided to throw caution to the wind on a flat Rawalpindi Stadium pitch.
Crawley (122) and Duckett (107) set the tone for the day by starring in opening stand worth 233 in a little more than 35 overs. Duckett's milestone came in his first Test in six years, after his debut against Bangladesh in 2016.
Crawley, 24, drove Pakistan pacer Naseem Shah to the cover boundary in the first session to reach his third Test century in his 29th match, but not before overturning a leg-before decision via review.
The lanky batsman showed his intent right from the start, hitting three boundaries off Naseem's first over of the day and bringing up his half-century with another off spinner Zahid Mahmood.
Brook then raised the scoring rate further, cracking 14 fours and two sixes during his unbeaten ton. In fact, he hit part-time spinner Saud Shakeel to six consecutive fours.
Captain Stokes was looking good at 34 from 15 balls when play was called off due to fading light.