The Test series between England and Pakistan has been bizarre to say the least, with strange fields and the Poms putting up 506 runs and four tons in an extraordinary day one.
The latest quirk of this series though has seen England’s Joe Root decide to bat left-handed at one point, leaving Nasser Hussain stunned in commentary.
“That is remarkable what I have just seen,” Hussain said.
“Joe Root has not even bothered changing sides.”
Root was fortunate to not have been dismissed with the shot, which came in the 23rd over on the fourth day of the Test, dropped by Naseem Shah at midwicket.
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Harry Brook and Root blasted quickfire fifties as England set Pakistan an imposing 343-run target to win the opening Test on the fourth day in Rawalpindi on Sunday.
Brook’s fiery 65-ball 87 and Root’s 69-ball 73 saw England race to 264-7 before skipper Ben Stokes called his batters back to the pavilion, leaving the home side a maximum 130 overs to see out.
England are playing their first Test series in Pakistan for 17 years, and have brought a limited-overs aggression to their batting in the first of three matches.
Brook was bowled in Naseem Shah’s last over before tea, adding 218 runs in the session after resuming at 46-2 after lunch.
Liam Livingstone remained unbeaten on seven.
Brook smashed 11 boundaries and three sixes in a swashbuckling knock, narrowly missing a century in each innings after his 153 in England’s first-innings run-fest of 657.
The middle-order batter added 96 for the fourth wicket with Root who scored his 55th Test half-century, which included six boundaries.
Root falls, Stokes fails as PAK hunt win | 00:45
Leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood dismissed Root and Stokes (nought) in the same over to finish with figures of 2-84.
Naseem took 2-66 and Mohammad Ali 2-64.
Opener Zak Crawley had earlier raced to a 48-ball 50 with seven boundaries while Ollie Pope (15) and Will Jacks (24) were the other contributors.
Jacks was the pick of the England bowlers, bagging 6-161 to help his side gain a 78-run first-innings lead.
England’s innings started with a first-over dismissal as Ben Duckett — one of four first-innings centurions — was caught at slip off the second ball of pacer Naseem Shah for a golden duck.
Fellow centurion Pope cracked two boundaries before hooking fast bowler Ali into the hands of Naseem.
Earlier, debutant Jacks took all three wickets to fall after Pakistan resumed at 499-7 — but not before the host’s tail-enders scored freely on a much-maligned flat Rawalpindi Stadium pitch.
Agha Salman (53) and Zahid Mahmood (17) frustrated England for 50 minutes during their stubborn eighth-wicket stand of 57.