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Ashes 2023: Zak Crawley-Joe Root record-breaking stand give England edge

CricketAshes 2023: Zak Crawley-Joe Root record-breaking stand give England edge

Old Trafford: Zak Crawley and Joe Root put on an exhibition of stroke-making after lunch on day two to put England on top in the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford on Thursday.

Zak Crawley smashed 189 off just 182 balls in a mind-blowing innings that swung the Manchester Test England’s way on day two. 

The England opener was helped along the way by Moeen Ali first and Joe Root later, with the partnership alongside the latter producing a spectacle for the home fans after the lunch break.

In the second session on day two, England racked up 178 runs at a stunning rate of 7.16, making it the most runs a session has seen in the ongoing series.

Crawley and Root combined at the fall of Moeen Ali’s wicket with England’s score on 130. Ali had made a fighting half-century from No.3 before Mitchell Starc got the better of him.

Root came out all guns blazing and Crawley joined in as the pace picked up. Post lunch, the two put Australia’s attack under immense pressure with frequent hits to the fence.

The double-century stand came at over run-a-ball before Crawley was eventually dismissed for 189 by Cameron Green. Joe Root (84 off 95 balls) fell soon after with Josh Hazlewood’s delivery not bouncing much and cleaning him up.

Crawley and Root stitched together a stand of 206 off just 178 balls, making it the double-century partnership with the highest recorded run-rate in Test history. 

There have only been six double-century partnerships recorded at over run-a-ball with Crawley himself involved in another last year in Pakistan when he and Ben Duckett put on 233 off 214 balls in Rawalpindi.

Double-century partnerships at more than six runs per over (only where balls recorded)

Partners Partnership Run Rate Opposition

Z Crawley, JE Root  206 (178) 6.94 v Australia, Manchester, 2023

JM Bairstow, BA Stokes  399 (346) 6.91 v South Africa, Cape Town, 2016

AC Gilchrist, ML Hayden  233 (203) 6.88 v Zimbabwe, Perth, 2003

Z Crawley, BM Duckett  233 (214) 6.53 v Pakistan, Rawalpindi, 2022

JA Burns, DA Warner  237 (226) 6.29 v New Zealand, Brisbane, 2015

AB de Villiers, GC Smith  217 (209) 6.22 v Zimbabwe, Cape Town, 2005

Crawley’s strike-rate of 103.84 is the second-highest in an Ashes innings of 150 or more runs. Adam Gilchrist, who made 145 off 143 balls at Edgbaston in 2001, holds the top spot.

The 189 by Crawley is also the fourth-highest score by an England opener in a home Ashes Test.

Crawley’s knock and his stand with Root have given England’s quest to level the series an early boost in the fourth Test.

At stumps on day two, England were 384/4, with a lead of 67 runs on board. They will want to get that first-innings lead really high on day three to put the Aussies under pressure.

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