A record-breaking 359-run partnership between Zak Crawley and Jos Buttler helped England pile on 583/8d against a hapless Pakistan attack on day two of the third Test in Southampton.
England declared their innings halfway through the final session, giving themselves an hour to have a crack at the Pakistan top order. The plan worked beautifully, as a fiery James Anderson reduced the visitors to 24/3 at stumps. He dismissed the England openers Shan Masood and Abid Ali in back-to-back overs before claiming the big wicket of Babar Azam.
Pakistan's top-ranked player in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Rankings, it was crucial for Azam to remain at the crease at the end of the day. However, Anderson set him up beautifully and clinched a vital LBW on the final ball of the day.
While the first hour of play was affected due to intermittent but heavy rainfall, Zak Crawley and Jos Buttler had no trouble finding their rhythm. They picked it up where they'd left off at the previous day, nullifying the Pakistan attack with their swelling partnership.
Crawley first converted his maiden century into a double century, before crossing 250 in the second session. The 22-year-old looked in complete control throughout his innings, and even switched gears after his double ton to give England quick runs. The only false shot he played before his dismissal was a thick edge that flew past the slip cordon to the third-man boundary and brought up his double century.
When he was finally dismissed by Asad Shafiq shortly before tea, he had scored the second-highest maiden hundred for England. His 267 is also the highest score a batsman has been stumped for in Test cricket.
Highest fifth-wicket partnerships in all Test cricket:— ICC (@ICC) August 22, 2020
🇦🇺 Barnes & Bradman ➜ 405 v Eng, 1946
🇦🇺 Waugh & Blewett ➜ 385 v SA, 1997
🇮🇳 Laxman & Dravid ➜ 376 v Aus, 2001
🇧🇩 Shakib & Rahim ➜ 359 v NZ, 2017
🏴 CRAWLEY & BUTTLER ➜ 359 v Pak, TODAY 👏👏
The 359-run stand between Buttler and Crawley also broke multiple records, including the highest partnership for England for the fifth wicket. It is joint-fourth in the overall list.
Buttler carried on after Crawley's dismissal, bringing up the first 150-plus score of his Test career. It was also his maiden Test century as a designated wicket-keeper. The right-hander looked in excellent form throughout his innings. He brought up his 150 with a fine off drive and in fact, hr expertly drove the Pakistan pacers multiple times during his knock.
He was ultimately dismissed for a well-made 152 by Fawad Alam, who picked up his maiden wicket in Test cricket. He soon followed it up with another scalp, dismissing Chris Woakes for 40. Dom Bess (27*) and Stuart Broad (15) struck three sixes and two fours between them to give England a finishing impetus before Broad was bowled by Shaheen Afridi.
That turned out to be the last ball of the innings, as Joe Root declared.
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