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Crawley, Buttler double century stand puts England in the ascendancy
Day One Report

Crawley, Buttler double century stand puts England in the ascendancy

Zak Crawley and Jos Buttler pummeled Pakistan in an unbroken 205-run partnership to propel England to a dominant position in the final Test at Old Trafford.

England's rampant batting charge was exemplified by the healthy run rate of 3.68 throughout the day's proceedings as they went to stumps at 332-4.

Crawley and Buttler paired together in the middle after Pakistan made quick incisions in the first hour after lunch to briefly put them on top.

However, the two then battled the remaining overs solidly and swatted boundaries all over the ground to leave the listless Pakistan side out of steam.

Crawley, who made an impressive half-century in the drawn second Test, showed brilliant poise at the crease to bring up his highest first-class score.

The 22-year-old displayed signs of aggression from the get-go by striking boundaries regularly to put the pressure on the opposition.

Crawley was forced to arrive in the midst of the cricket action early in the day after Rory Burns succumbed to Shaheen Afridi for the third time in the series.

The left-handed batsman's troubles against Shaheen once again came to the fore as he edged a good-length delivery to Shan Masood in the slips. Masood's grab required the TV umpire's assistance with the replays depicting not enough evidence to overturn the on-field soft signal of out.

While Crawley rocketed alongside an uncharacteristically positive Dom Sibley, Pakistan introduced Yasir Shah rather early into the attack.

The leg-spinner managed to provide Pakistan with a breakthrough by scalping Sibley, who missed a delivery trying to work the ball into the leg-side.

Skipper Joe Root's poor run continued with another failure as he could do little against a pearler of a delivery from teenage pace sensation Naseem Shah.

Root could not get his bat out of the line of a full-length ball from Naseem that shaped away fractionally to kiss the outside edge through to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, who snapped a fabulous catch.

Ollie Pope was then guilty of going deep in his crease to play a Yasir Shah delivery that kicked off the surface and crashed into the stumps.

England were 127-4 at the stage but Crawley and Buttler wiped away Pakistan's hopes of bundling out the hosts for a low total as the duo launched a supreme fightback.

Having reached his fifty in just 62 balls, Crawley took a more measured approach before going past the three-figure mark with a couple of two controlled twos off Mohammad Abbas.

The ecstatic youngster wore a broad grin on his face as he celebrated the achievement by raising his bat to the England dressing room where all the players stood up and lauded the regal effort.

The freewheeling strokeplay of Buttler complemented Crawley's stable innings well with the wicketkeeper growing in confidence and employing reverse-sweeps to counter the spinners.

Buttler completed his 85-ball fifty glittered by six fours and two sixes towards the end of the day and curbed his attacking instincts in the last five overs.

Crawley will resume the second day 29 runs short of a record double ton, which will make him England's youngest double centurion since David Gower.