Harry Brook scores his third Test century to help England to a 50-run lead over Pakistan
Harry Brook could have celebrated another half century for Bradford and Bingley.
Just before tea on the second day of this third and final Test, he forced Pakistani spinner Abrar Ahmed to the cover fence, carefully removed his helmet, raised both arms and accepted Ben Foake’s offer of a hug. It was as unspectacular as his hitting had been unforgettable.
This was his third century in his first full run as a Test cricketer and probably his best – carved out of adversity to an England score of 145 for five after Brook had been complicit in the bailing out of Ben Stokes.
Harry Brook reached his third century in as many games as England secured an advantage over Pakistan
The 23-year-old hit 111 before being caught by debutant Mohammad Wasim LBW
Other 23-year-olds are likely to have shrunk in their only fourth test. But they clearly breed them tough in Keighley, and Brook set about repairing the damage. When he was caught for 111 by debutant Mohammad Wasim, he and Ben Foakes had hit a game-changing 117.
The lower class followed suit. Mark Wood crashed 35 of 41 balls and Ollie Robinson 29 of 20 balls. While Foakes fell in between at 64, a skillful shot at the steady pace he prefers, England hit 354 – a useful 50 lead in the first innings.
By a narrow margin, Pakistan was 21st after nine rounds with 21 overs without a loss and trailing by 29. England’s hopes of unprecedented whitewashing remained alive, although much hard work still lay ahead.
He was hugging wicketkeeper Ben Foakes – with whom he bet on 117 – as he reached his barrel
Mark Wood crashed 35 balls from 41 and batted in ninth as England’s bat-wielding tail impressed
But in the City of Lights, it was Brook’s performance that brightened the show. Yorkshire batsmanship has been a reassuring constant throughout English Test history – from Herbert Sutcliffe to Len Hutton and from Geoff Boycott to Joe Root.
They are announcing a new member of this line at their own peril, but Brook has had such a good start to his Testing career – and seems to have such a mature head on young shoulders – that it will be a surprise when he fails to make an upward move.
His scores at Rawalpindi and Multan told us what we already knew of his exploits in white ball cricket – not least during the T20 series here in the autumn when he averaged 79 with a strike rate of 163. That was the reason England’s assistant coach Paul Collingwood used to call him a “strong Joe Root” on this trip.
The Yorkshire man was branded a ‘strong Joe Root’ by England assistant Paul Collingwood
But the situation on the second afternoon in Karachi called for something special. England went on at seven to one and reached 58 without another loss, only for left-arm spinner Nauman Ahmed, who caught Ben Duckett lbw on the back foot for 26, then Root got caught on the first slip ball and pressed one, who turned away and took the edge.
When Ollie Pope was bowled for 51 by an unplayable delivery from Abrar, which hit the stump and rebounded as he groped into space, England were 98 for four and more than a point of trouble.
By lunchtime, which was taken at 2 p.m. for four, he and Stokes restored some order, only to undo the good work of the 11th Ball of the afternoon session.
Brook had flicked Wasim off his legs, perhaps thinking the ball was going to run away for four, and took a leisurely second. However, Stokes rightly recognized the chance for a third, but Brook was not interested.
Brook outran captain Ben Stokes (left), who was frustrated but gave him a thumbs up
Brook and Foakes helped England rebuild from 145-5 to take a 50-run lead in Karachi
When Azhar Ali threw the ball to Wasim, who was standing over the stumps at the non-forward’s end, both Stokes and Brook were stranded at the other. Crucially, Brook had put his racquet down just behind the line before Stokes crossed it, so it was the captain – who had played powerfully for 26 – who was on his way.
Perhaps just as crucially, Stokes turned as he walked away and gave Brook the thumbs-up – an act of a captain who understands the power of gesture.
For a time, Brook and Foakes proceeded cautiously, but Brook was merciless against anything offline and Foakes gained confidence, especially through the leg side.
Foakes hit 64 from 121 carries on his return from the side and has also impressed with the gloves
After ticking off David Gower’s England record of 449 runs in a Test series in Pakistan, Brook rose to three numbers in a typically classy stroke and joined George Headley, Arthur Morris, Conrad Hunte, Sunil Gasvakar and Mohammad Azharuddin as the only players who scored three hundred in their first four Tests.
His restorative stand with Foakes was ended by a nip backer from Wasim before Rehan Ahmed’s first Test innings lasted just three balls – he was caught at midwicket aiming something extravagant at Nauman.
But the tail wagged and England took control again, scoring at 4.32 over Abrar, who added four wickets to the 11 he won at Multan, but without the same threat.
When the Stokes team end 2022 on their ninth win of ten, they will know whom to thank.
TOP SPIN IN TEST
Harry Brook became just the seventh England player, after Len Hutton, Ian Botham, David Gower, Mike Atherton, Alastair Cook and Joe Root, to score at least three Test hundreds before the age of 24.
Only India’s Mohammad Azharuddin has taken six innings less than Brooks to score his first three Test centuries. Azharuddin did it in four shots against England in 1984/85. George Headley of the West Indies in 1930, Australia’s Arthur Morris in 1947 and India’s Vinod Kambli in 1993 also won six innings.
Brook has 468 runs in that series, more than any other England batsman in a series in Pakistan. The previous record belonged to Gower who made 449 in 1983-84.
When Brook Abrar lifted Ahmed to the ground just before lunch, it was England’s 88th Six in Test cricket in 2022 – a record for a calendar year that beat India’s 87 in 2021.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-11551257/Harry-Brook-scores-Test-century-help-England-50-run-lead-Pakistan.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Harry Brook scores his third Test century to help England to a 50-run lead over Pakistan