Harry Brook’s six of the best caps a remarkable blitz for England

Harry Brook celebrates reaching his century with Ben Stokes (Picture: Philip Brown/ Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Harry Brook capped an extraordinary, record-breaking first day for England in Pakistan with a quickfire first Test century, then joked he was happiest about hitting six fours in an over.

Incredibly Brook was the fourth England batter to reach three figures on day one of the first Test as the tourists ran riot, racing to 506 for four from 75 punishing overs on a flat pitch in Rawalpindi.

Openers Zak Crawley (122) and Ben Duckett (107), plus No.3 Ollie Pope (108) had all got there first, but the Yorkshireman’s 80-ball effort was the quickest of all against a weary attack as England made good on their promise to continue with the ultra-aggressive stye ushered in by new coach and captain Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes last summer.

Brook was playing just his second Test innings and encapsulated England’s approach in the 67th over, hitting the accelerator in style as he cracked all six deliveries from left-arm spinner Saud Shakeel to the boundary.

The 23-year-old’s effortless execution belied the fact only four other players –Sandeep Patil, Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Sanath Jayasuriya – have managed the feat in Test history.

Stokes was seen hollering his approval as the carnage unfolded and Brook’s own reaction, laughing with Pope as he dragged Shakeel’s final offering through midwicket, told its own story.

Ben Duckett (left) cuts on his way to a maiden Test hundred (Picture: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
The scoreboard tells the story (Picture: Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

‘They were all bad balls, I just tried to put them away,’ he said with a beaming smile after bad light stopped play.

‘Obviously, I was always going to try and hit the sixth for four. I was probably happier with that over than the hundred to be honest.’ Pope and Brook were able to capitalise after Crawley and Duckett put on 233, the fastest double-century stand in Test history, with only Joe Root – out for 23 – unable to get in on the act.

Duckett brought up his own maiden century in Tests from 108 balls on his recall to the side after a six-year absence.

The Nottinghamshire batsman was one of the players struggling with a bug which briefly threatened to cause the game to be postponed by 24 hours on the eve of the match. As it turned out only Ben Foakes was not well enough to play – Pope will instead keep wicket.

‘Not the best build-up to a Test match and certainly not the best for me in my first one back for six years,’ he said.

‘But it would have had to have taken a lot for me not to come to the ground today and play. Stokesy said, “Let’s get out there and let’s take them on”.

‘I think if the game was yesterday it would have been tough. The energy levels probably weren’t the highest this morning. I think there were some happy men when we won the toss, batted and gave our bowlers another day to rest.’

MORE : Vibrant approach from England will be put to the test on unfamiliar territory in Pakistan

MORE : Brendon McCullum keen to ensure a positive result for Test cricket

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