Crawley, Buttler stand puts England firmly in charge

Sports Saturday 22/August/2020 14:58 PM
By: Times News Service
Crawley, Buttler stand puts England firmly in charge

Southampton: England were 336/4 with Zak Crawley unbeaten on 171 and Jos Buttler on 91 firmly on the crease when rain stopped play on the second day of the Southampton Test on Saturday.
Earlier, Crawley registered his maiden Test century, finishing the day on 171*, as England racked up 332/4 on the first day in Southampton.
Having won the toss and opted to bat, England lost an early wicket as Rory Burns was dismissed in single figures by Shaheen Afridi for the third time in four innings this series, bringing Crawley to the crease in just the fifth over of the match.
Together with Dom Sibley, Crawley weathered the rest of a testing opening spell from Pakistan while still managing to keep the scoreboard ticking along at a good rate. The pair added 61 runs in 13.5 overs before Sibley fell to Yasir Shah, with umpire Michael Gough's decision to give him out leg before despite having come down the pitch backed up by the technology.
Crawley scored freely up into the mid-40s, at which point the Pakistan bowlers changed tack, bowling a defensive line outside his off-stump. Having taken just 46 balls to reach 45, the England No.3 had faced a further 34 deliveries by the time he finally brought up his half-century from the last ball before lunch.
After the break, Naseem Shah accounted for England captain Joe Root with a beautiful delivery moving away from the right-hander to take the edge, and Ollie Pope was bowled going back to a full-ish ball from Yasir to leave England 127/4.
Crawley remained mostly untroubled, however, and he found good company in Jos Buttler as the pair began to rebuild. The 22-year-old took the lead in the partnership, but was forced to wait to bring up his maiden ton as he reached tea on 97*, bringing up the landmark swiftly after resumption.
Following a relatively sedate start to his innings, Buttler got himself going as he took 14 runs off Yasir's 22nd over, including two sixes down the ground, and brought up the hundred partnership in the process.
Further landmarks were ticked off as Buttler passed 50, and Crawley reached his 150. The No.3 passed Ian Bell's mark of 167 to record the highest individual innings at Southampton in Tests, and one more run secured his own highest first class score.
Both players were slightly becalmed as stumps approached, but the partnership still managed to grow beyond 200 before the end of the day, with Crawley ending 171*, while Buttler will resume just 13 runs short of what would be his second Test century on 87*.