Zak Crawley played a stunning innings of 189 runs off 182 deliveries, putting England in a commanding position against Australia. At the end of day two of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford, England were 384/4 for a 67-run lead.
With bad weather expected on the last two days of the match, Crawley led England’s batting charge with aggression, smashing 12 fours and a six for his maiden Ashes century off just 93 balls. His knock left Australia in desperation for a wicket.
Moeen Ali justified his position at number three with a score of 54 before Mitchell Starc dismissed him. Crawley and Joe Root (84 off 95 balls) then teamed up to unleash a jaw-dropping display of stroke-play in the second session, amassing an astonishing 178 runs in just 25 overs. This dominant performance by England left Australia in a state of helplessness.
In the second session, England’s run-rate was a remarkable 7.16, making it the most runs scored in a single session during the ongoing series. Crawley and Root came together after Ali’s dismissal, setting the stage for England’s advantage. Root continued his aggressive approach, and Crawley matched the pace, putting the Australian bowlers under immense pressure.
Post lunch, the pair intensified their assault on Australia’s bowling attack, consistently finding the boundary. The double-century partnership between Crawley and Root came at a run-a-ball rate before Cameron Green dismissed Crawley for 189 runs. Soon after, Josh Hazlewood bowled Root, breaking their partnership.
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Their partnership of 206 runs off 178 balls set a new record for the highest run-rate in Test history for a double-century stand. Crawley was previously involved in another such partnership last year against Pakistan, where he and Ben Duckett put on 233 runs off 214 balls in Rawalpindi.
Crawley’s strike-rate of 103.85 is the second-highest among innings of 150 or more runs in an Ashes match. The top spot belongs to Adam Gilchrist, the legendary Australian wicketkeeper-batter, who scored 152 off 143 balls at Edgbaston in 2001, at a strike-rate of 106.29. Moreover, Crawley’s magnificent 189 is also the fourth-highest score by an England opener in a home Ashes Test.
In the morning session, James Anderson dismissed Pat Cummins on the very first delivery of the day, while Chris Woakes secured a five-for by dismissing Josh Hazlewood, concluding Australia’s innings at 317.
England suffered an early blow as Ben Duckett fell to Starc, but Crawley and Ali consolidated with a partnership of 61 runs by lunch. During this partnership, Ali reached the milestone of 3000 runs and 200 wickets, becoming the 16th men’s Test cricketer to achieve this feat.
Post lunch, Ali and Crawley’s partnership flourished to 121 runs before Starc removed Ali. After that, Crawley and Root took control of the game, treating the crowd to an enthralling display of Test cricket in the Bazball style.
Following Crawley and Root’s dismissal in quick succession, Harry Brook (14 not out) and Ben Stokes (24 not out) saw out the rest of the day, ensuring England finished in a commanding position.
Australia are anxiously awaiting updates on Mitchell Starc’s injury ahead of the third day of the Test. Starc sustained a shoulder injury towards the end of Day Two when he landed awkwardly while making a diving stop at mid-on. The team is also without the services of the experienced Nathan Lyon, who is nursing an injury.
Crawley, Ali achieve personal milestones
Zak Crawley surpassed 2,000 runs on the second day of the Ashes Test. He also scored the third-highest individual score by an England batter in a day’s play during Ashes Tests.
In 38 matches, Crawley has 2,109 runs at an average of 31.01, with an impressive strike rate of 63.33. He has hit four centuries and nine fifties, with a highest score of 267.
In this year’s Ashes, Crawley is the leading run-scorer, with 385 runs in seven innings in four matches, averaging 55.00. He has one century and one fifty, with his runs coming at an aggressive strike rate of close to 90.
Crawley’s 189 is now etched as the third-highest score by an English batter in a single day of an Ashes Test. The top two spots belong to Tip Foster, who scored 214 runs in 1902 at Sydney, and Wally Hammond, who notched up 210 runs at Lord’s in 1938.
Meanwhile, Crawley’s teammate Moeen Ali also reached a significant milestone, surpassing 3,000 runs in Test cricket. He is now only the fourth England cricketer to have a double of scoring 3,000 runs and taking 200 wickets in the longer format.
In his Test career spanning 67 matches, Moeen has 3,031 runs at an average of 28.06. The all-rounder has hit five centuries and 15 half-centuries, with his highest score being an unbeaten 155. Furthermore, he joins the elite ranks of English cricketers to score 3,000 runs and scalp 200 wickets in Tests.
Moeen has 201 wickets to his name, placing him in the esteemed company of other legendary all-rounders from England, such as Ian Botham (5,200 runs and 383 wickets in 102 Tests), Andrew Flintoff (3,845 runs and 226 wickets in 79 Tests), and Stuart Broad (3,640 runs and 600 wickets in 166 Tests).