@Ben_Wisden 5 minute read
England’s Test win over Pakistan at Rawalpindi ranks among the greatest, most dramatic, and most straightforwardly bonkers in Test history. Here is a (probably incomplete) list of all the ridiculous things that happened.
28 bonkers things that happened in the Rawalpindi Test
1. A result
This is an extraordinarily flat pitch. Australia and Pakistan played out a Test on a similar surface earlier this year that ranked among the dullest in Test history. Getting any sort of interest in the game, let alone a win, is perhaps the most remarkable thing of all.
2. Everyone being ill
Basically all of England’s team was on the toilet the day before the game started. They had to make a last-minute change to the XI after Ben Foakes came down poorly before the toss. And they had to plate most of the game a man down anyway after Liam Livingstone got injured.
3. England scoring 500 runs on the first day
4. England scoring four hundreds on the first day
A world record
5. Both sides scoring 1,768 runs in the game
A world record
6. Harry Brook making 240 off 181 balls in the game
A world record (fastest strike rate in a Test with a 200-run cut-off)
7. Zahid Mahmood conceding 235 runs on debut Test innings
A world record
8. …And still taking Pope and Stokes in a double-wicket maiden
9. Gilbert Jessop’s record not being broken
10. Joe Root batting left handed
He’s taking the piss. Who cares that he got dropped and then stopped?
11. Joe Root shining the ball on Jack Leach’s head
12. Seven hundreds in the game, and Joe Root not making one of them
Drop him immediately.
13. Anderson going at 1.91 runs per over
Across the first three innings, no one else went at under 3.4 runs per over. All of Pakistan’s bowlers went at at least fives. Freak.
14. Will Jacks taking six-for
Coming into this season, Will Jacks had three first-class wickets. He now has six Test wickets, and the best figures on Test debut by an England spinner in nigh-on 30 years.
15. Zak Crawley’s shoulder rub
16. Ben Stokes’ declaration
There’s being prepared to lose in order to win, and there’s being desperate to lose with no hope of winning. Isn’t there?
17. The lean, mean Ollie Robinson forcing one of the world’s toughest batters to retire hurt
Azhar Ali doesn’t bruise easy.
18. Ben Stokes bouncing out Babar Azam
19. Ben Stokes bowling an 11-over spell after lunch on the last day
20. That lbw shout going over
The second of two times the ball bounced all Test match.
21. Ollie Robinson hitting the stumps and the bails not coming off
Can you be too accurate? It turns out you can.
22. Ollie Robinson being a freak
Remember when Ollie Robinson’s fitness was an issue? He’s just bowled 43 overs in a Test as draining as they come, and his best spell was his last one.
23. James Anderson being a freak
He’s 40. Forty. FORTY!! How is he taking two wickets in three balls in the final session of day five, never bowling a bad ball, and looking that good?
24. Pope taking a screamer down the leg side
He wasn’t even supposed to be keeping in this Test. Why?
25. Pope not going for a catch between him and Root
Ah, maybe that’s why. ‘After you’.
26. Mohammad Ali going for a wee
The look on Ben Stokes’ face! Outstanding.
27. A collapse of 5-11 after tea
Did England have Jonny Bairstow’s fabled cup of coffee and a ham and cheese toastie?
28. The agonising wait for the final bit of ball-tracking
It looked plumb. But then so did that other one. And the technology took so long that the sun might well have set by the time they took back their positions. It was plumb.