England’s century hero Zak Crawley said his career “almost flashed before my eyes” as he completed a maiden Test century that put England in a strong position on the first day of their series finale against Pakistan at Southampton on Friday.
Crawley’s unbeaten 171 on the opening day was the centrepiece of England’s 332-4 at stumps after captain Joe Root won the toss.
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Jos Buttler (87 not out) proved a fine, free-scoring ally to Crawley during an unbroken stand of 205.
Crawley came in early, with England struggling at 12-1 after the loss of Rory Burns.
But the 22-year-old batsman, in just his eighth Test, got off the mark with a boundary and rarely looked troubled during what was just the fourth first-class century, and highest score, of his career.
During the drawn and weather-marred second Test at Southampton, Crawley said he “massively wanted” to score an England hundred.
And after Friday’s stumps he told Sky Sports: “When I was about 91, I was really nervous. Jos didn’t think I was, so I must have been hiding it pretty well. I just tried to play straight and play every ball on its merits.
“It was an unbelievable feeling, to see everyone else up there on the balcony, clapping — it almost flashed before my eyes, my whole career so far,” he added, with the applause of his teammates compensating for the absence of spectators in a match once again being played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus.
England, 1-0 up in a three-match contest, will win their first Test series against Pakistan in 10 years if they avoid defeat at the Ageas Bowl.