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Pakistan v England 2022/23

Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley go bigger than most, and quicker than everyone

by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

Zak Crawley (122) and Ben Duckett (107) amassed several records, during their 233-run opening stand in the first Test match against Pakistan, in Rawalpindi.

Between them, the two teams fielded six debutants – Haris Rauf, Mohammad Ali, Saud Shakeel, and Zahid Mahmood for Pakistan, Will Jacks and Liam Livingstone for England – the most since Afghanistan versus Ireland in Dehradun 2019, and the most in a Test match not featuring any of Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Ireland since England versus India in Edgbaston 1996.

Once play began, Crawley raced to his fifty in 38 balls, and 100 off 86, while Duckett took 50 and 105 balls for the respective milestones. Crawley’s was the fastest Test hundred by an England opener. This was the only the second time that both openers of a touring side scored hundreds in Pakistan, after Virender Sehwag (254) and Rahul Dravid (128) in Lahore in 2005/06. This was also the first time both England openers made hundreds against Pakistan anywhere in the world.


This was also the seventh time both England openers scored hundreds in a Test innings away from home – after Jack Hobbs and Wilfred Rhodes (Melbourne, 1911/12), Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe (Melbourne, 1924/25), Len Hutton and Cyril Washbrook (Johannesburg, 1948/49), Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss (Durban, 2004/05), Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook (Brisbane, 2010/11), and Cook and Nick Compton (Dunedin, 2012/13) – in other words, the first time in an overseas nation in the Northern Hemisphere.

The opening stand of 233 was also England’s highest against Pakistan, eclipsing the 198 between Bob Barber and Geoff Pullar in Dacca (now Dhaka, in Bangladesh) in 1961/62. This is also England’s eighth-highest opening stand against any opposition, and the highest since the 273 between Strauss and Trescothick in the Durban Test mentioned above.

Crawley and Duckett scored at 6.53 runs an over – the fastest hundred-run opening stand* for England. The previous record (108 runs at 5.44) was between Crawley and Alex Lees, in England’s previous Test match, against South Africa at The Oval this September. The fourth entry (107 at 4.93 between Crawley and Lees) came against India at Edgbaston this July. Bazball seems to be working. Incidentally, Duckett was also involved in England’s fastest overseas century stand* – 100 at 4.31 with Cook against Bangladesh in Mirpur in 2016/17.

This is also the fastest double-hundred opening stand* in the history of Test cricket. Crawley and Duckett went past Joe Burns and David Warner, who added 237 against New Zealand in Brisbane in 2015/16. For any wicket, this partnership ranks third, after Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow’s 399 at 6.91 in Cape Town in 2015/16, and Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist’s 233 at 6.88 against Zimbabwe at Perth in 2003/04.

Crawley himself has now batted thrice against Pakistan in Tests, with scores of 53 and 267 (Southampton 2020) and now 122. Of those who have been dismissed at least once against Pakistan – in other words, batters with a valid batting average – his average of 147.33 is the highest, while Duckett (110 in his only innings) is next among English cricketers.

Of batters with more runs than Crawley’s 442, only 12 have a better average against a single opposition, and no one else averages 100 against Pakistan. Curiously, against other nations, he averages 21.73 across 50 innings.

Crawley’s 122 took 111 balls, which meant he scored at a strike rate of 110. This is now the fastest* score in excess of hundred by any English opener, while Duckett’s 97 (107 in 110) is the fourth-fastest*. The two English openers between them are Graham Gooch (123 at 109) and Trescothick (151 at 102). Across nations, Crawley is 12th* and Duckett 31st*, while among English batters across positions, they are fifth* and 14th*,

*in matches where relevant data is available

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