After Australia’s visit to Pakistan earlier in the year, talks were that there would be something for the bowlers this time around. However, what was observed on day one probably paints the best picture of the pitch and conditions in Pakistan.
The first day of the first Test between England and Pakistan saw 506 runs being scored, with five English batters bringing up a triple-digit score. But what was more astonishing is how four out of the six batters had a strike-rate of well above 100. Ben Duckett, who scored a century on his comeback had a strike-rate of 97 when he departed.
That should really say how the pitch was, and rightfully, Pakistan’s head coach Saqlain Mushtaq called for more help for the bowlers after a record-shattering day on Thursday (November 1). Pakistan fielded a relatively weakened unit, with Zahid Mahmood, Mohammad Ali, Haris Rauf and Saud Shakeel all making their Test debuts.
"It's a combination of all three factors (excellent batting, bowling inexperience and pitch). It was not very helpful. There was not much swing and not much turn," Saqlain Mushtaq told after day one’s play in Rawalpindi.
"It was an exciting day from England's perspective. People enjoyed England's cricket, they outplayed us. England are playing exciting cricket. We have done well. I think if you are talking about the pitch, against Australia also, it was like this. In January, February. I think the pitches should be more supportive," he added.
Whilst there was immense criticism on the team that Pakistan picked for this Test, Mushtaq insisted that this was the best team that they could assemble, with an eye on domestic cricket.
“Muhammad Ali was performing well in domestic cricket, while Abrar and Zahid were also putting up wonderful performances in the camp. We strive to be fair in the selection of the team.
“Both the players were bowling brilliantly in the camp and were doing what they were supposed to do. We needed a bowler who can bowl in long spells with Haris and Naseem. But credit goes to England who had planned well against us," he added.
England ended day one with a score of 506, with the loss of just four wickets, scoring their runs at a rate of 6.75. Pakistan bowlers will have to turn up differently from day one if they are to not let the visitors shatter more records.