Of course the best Test knock of 2020 had to come to an end at the hands of a part-timer bowling pies. That’s how cricket works, doesn’t it? Ignoring the dismissal though, the gesture from Pakistan after the wicket won hearts, as the visitors rushed towards Crawley to congratulate the youngster.
There is no weirder sport than cricket and these last two days have served as a testament to this statement. Heading into day one, Kent’s Zak Crawley had surpassed fifty just 20 times in his entire first-class career, averaged 28.54 in Test cricket and was uncertain of his place in the England XI. Fast-forward 24 hours, he has played the best Test innings of 2020 and he is an overnight darling of England, who do love hyping their sportsmen.
After ending Day 1 on 171*, Crawley brought up his double-ton post-lunch on Day 2 and looked like he was going to score a triple-century for all money. Unfortunately, his charge was brought to an end by, umm, Asad Shafiq (who has 2 wickets in 76 Tests) in the 133rd over, with the youngster just 33 shy of the magic number. Looking to enforce an early declaration, Crawley danced down the wicket in the hope of dispatching Shafiq out of the ground, but unfortunately, the part-timer delivering a wide outside leg-stump meant that the Kent youngster got stumped, thanks to some quick reflex from Mohammad Rizwan.
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But it was what followed after Crawley’s dismissal that has doubled the neutrals’ love for Pakistan cricketers. Immediately after dismissing Crawley, the Pakistan players sprinted towards the youngster, who was walking back to the pavilion, to congratulate him for his marathon effort. Rizwan, Azhar Ali and Shafiq all covered considerable ground to run towards Crawley and congratulate him, while young Naseem Shah came to the dismissed batsman all the way from the boundary line to applaud his efforts. It was a truly wholesome moment serving as an advertisement for this particular series, which has been played with so much mutual respect.
A glorious innings finally comes to an end.
Incredible knock Zak Crawley! �
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 22, 2020