Zak Crawley’s maiden Test match hundred was labelled a “phenomenal innings” by former England captain Nasser Hussain as he hit an unbeaten 171 on day one of the third #raisethebat Test against Pakistan.
Crawley shared in an unbroken 205-run stand with Jos Buttler (87no) for the fifth wicket, rallying England from 127-4 to 332-4 by stumps.
Hussain led the way with praise for Crawley from the Sky Sports Cricket pundits, while long-time champion of the Kent batsman, Rob Key, celebrated in how his former team-mate has taken his game to “a completely different level”.
“It’s the first day of the summer where I’ve thought, ‘It’s a shame no one is in here’, because everyone would be leaving now saying, ‘we saw something really special today’.
“He is a really special talent. We thought he could play, but I’m not sure we thought he could play as well as that, against an attack like that.
“It was a phenomenal innings, it really was.
England vs Pakistan
August 22, 2020, 10:30am
“England, in the past, with Sibley, Burns, Denly, found themselves in good positions but not really going anywhere. That one change, bringing Crawley in, has helped.
“He doesn’t just look to occupy the crease, play 100 balls, bat time, he looks to score runs. It seems the most obvious thing to say, but that is the game.
“You have to give the selectors a tick here. We are critical at times, and he has three first-class hundreds and averages 30, so why did they go in that direction?
“When they have seen him bat in first-class cricket, there is just something about him that they have thought in international cricket, this lad will be fine.”
“It’s an amazing day. I have seen him for a fair while and he has just got better and better.
“I wonder if he surprised himself? There’s no way I thought he could play as well as that; I knew he was a good player, but that was just a completely different level.
“A couple of years ago the talk was whether he could get in the Kent side, whether he was going to get a contract, and now he’s out there scoring a hundred for England.
“I remember the first time I saw him, he was probably 17, and we put the bowling machine on quick, aiming around his head – he didn’t play it brilliantly all the time, but he never backed down.
“The most impressive thing is the mental side of him; this is a kid who the first leg-spinner he is properly facing is Yasir Shah, and he is running down and hitting him over the top.
“Two or three years ago, he knew he was not playing spin that well – he was not in the England set up, the Lions or under-19s – so he took himself off to India, where he played spin every day.
“Then he said, ‘I need to play quick bowling better’, so he took himself off to Perth – he didn’t have Kent pay for it or wait for someone to tell him. He saw it as ‘this is my investment in my career’.
“He is been the one himself to say, ‘this is where I want to get to and this is how I’m going to do it’.”
Congrats to young Zak Crawley on his terrific first test match 100 at the Ageas Bowl ! Well played mate 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) August 21, 2020
“It was fantastic. Right from the word go, I thought it looked on. He even said it himself, from around 25, he was thinking ‘hundred’.
“He knew he was in good nick and sometimes you can then get a bit carried away, but I thought he was very well organised, had good plans against all of the bowlers.
“What an opportunity he has got now; he’s 171 not out, with no time restrictions – 1-0 up in the series – now is the time to be ruthless and put your foot on the opposition’s throat.
“And, let’s make sure he gets past Rob Key’s [Test best] score of 221 as well.”
First Test tons are a badge of honour .. a seal of approval in your own mind that you belong .. this one is certainly one of many for Zak Crawley .. love the way he plays .. so hard to keep quiet with all his options & he has put England in a winning position … #ENGvPAK
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) August 21, 2020
“What I have seen here has impressed me more than in South Africa [last winter]. I thought he was okay in South Africa but here he was better than okay.
“He looks good, assured, confident, looks as if he thinks to himself, ‘I belong here and I’m going to show everyone that’.
“He has batted very well and I haven’t seen him take any risks, apart from a sweep shot and when that didn’t come off, he put it away.
“That’s how you should go through your innings. Test cricket is about staying at the crease and then runs will come.
“He has batted extremely well.”
Congratulations Zak Crawley. What I would call a ‘ proper batsman’ . No tics or twitches, or odd technique that ‘ works for him’. V simple method: bat comes down straight and presents full face. And the confidence of youth. One for even younger players to emulate .
— mike selvey (@selvecricket) August 21, 2020
“He looked the part. I look at a batsman, particularly a young batsman, from a bowler’s point of view; his defence was there, he was able to play the pull shot – a controlled pull shot.
“I like the look of his temperament; I think he has a bright future ahead of him. It’s a big, big day for him and of course for England as well.”
Watch day two of the third and final #raisethebat Test between England and Pakistan live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Saturday.