England dominated Pakistan on day one of the first test match between the two sides at Rawalpindi, amassing a mammoth 506/4 at the close of play.
The match beginning on schedule, after England’s players recovered from an illness in time to field a playing XI, was the only good news Pakistan got on a tiresome day for their bowlers.
After choosing to bat first on a very flat track, which evoked memories of Pakistan’s test against Australia, Ben Stokes’ side laid siege to Pakistan’s bowling attack, displaying the full capacity of their “Bazzball” approach from the very first over.
Openers Ben Duckett (107) and Zak Crawley (122) got England going with a record-breaking opening session to set the tone.
The openers shared a 233-run stand before Zahid Mahmood finally got a breakthrough for Pakistan, trapping Duckett LBW.
Haris Rauf then removed Crawley to give Pakistan some brief respite before the visitors resumed normal service with Joe Root (23), Ollie Pope (108) and Harry Brook (101* )piling on runs through boundaries with ease.
The telling point of the first day came in the 68th over when Brook smashed Saud Shakeel for six fours in a single over without breaking a sweat.
Pakistan got another break when Mohammad Ali trapped Pope LBW for his first international wicket before the incoming Ben Stokes ( 34* off 15)wrestled the momentum away once again.
Pakistan will be hoping that the inauspicious day one does not reflect how the rest of the test series against England will go.
With Pakistan still alive in contention for the World Test Championship, Babar Azam needs to find a solution fast.