by Rex Clementine
Fanatics are people who have excess enthusiasm for their political or religious beliefs. So are England’s cricket team. They fanatically believe that there is no room for defending and building a total like they have done for decades. Their new theory is to go harum-scarum, and this strategy is forcing opposition teams into submission.
We witnessed a crazy opening day of the first Test match as records tumbled. This is the new brand of cricket that England want to play. Ruthless and fearless and when they do, the opposition is left with very little to do.
England mind you are playing their first Test match in Pakistan after 17 years. In Rawalpindi the entire squad was hit with a stomach bug and nobody was sure whether the Test match would get underway on time. But when it did all this proved to be false alarms.
England are playing Test match cricket like T 10 cricket. They are throwing caution to wind and they are not taking a backward step.
They ended day one on 506 for four. That’s the highest score ever on the first day of a Test match. And mind you this was not after 90 overs of play, as stipulated by playing conditions. Only 75 overs were possible on day one due to bad light. This is insane and something that the sport had never seen before. Not during the West Indies domination of world cricket in 1970s and 1980s. Not during Sanath Jayasuriya’s pinch hitting during 2000s. Not even during Don Bradman days when he was putting bowlers to the sword a century ago.
The point is that England is not banking on just one or two batters. Everyone is contributing. There were four centurions on day one and this is the first time four guys have scored hundreds on the opening day of the Test match.
Openers Zak Crawley (122) and Ben Duckett (107) added 174 runs in the opening session, the most runs scored in the first session of a Test match.
Crawley took just 86 deliveries for his hundred, the fastest by an England opener.
There was an Ollie People masterclass after that as he smashed a run a ball century and finally Harry Brook came to the crease and reached his hundred in 80 balls. It’s the third fastest hundred by an Englishman and the 25th fastest in the history of Test cricket. No prizes for guessing who has scored the fastest hundred in Test match cricket – it’s a certain Brendon McCullum, who also overseas England’s new aggressive approach.