Harry Brook crushes the unbeaten 81 before fast bowler Mark Wood wreaks havoc – and equals the fastest delivery in history – as England beat Pakistan by 63 runs to take a 2-1 lead in the T20 series.
Harry Brook played an astonishing breakthrough in international innings and Mark Wood matched the fastest delivery ever recorded by an England bowler to turn Karachi’s cauldron of noise into a library last night.
Brook’s bold and unbeaten 81 in just 35 deliveries helped raise the bar from 24 hours earlier, when Pakistan completed a historic first 10-wicket chase of a 200-run target in Twenty20 internationals.
And with 221 on the board this time, Wood sensationally unleashed the new-ball ferocity that England have sorely lacked during his six-month break with an elbow injury.
The 32-year-old wreaked havoc in a two-for-two opening salvo, matching the 97-mph ball Steve Harmison sent to fire Glenn McGrath in the 2006-07 Perth Ash Test during the second of two and instigating a four-wicket-for-11-run spell that drowned out the noise Thursday.
Any doubts about a result that would put England 2-1 up with four to play were dispelled before the end of the power play, from which Pakistan emerged 29 for four.
Fresh off his undefeated 110, Babar witnessed a Wood goalkeeper streak past his nose and then guide the next delivery straight to the third man. Haider Ali was uncomfortably late with another short ball and was held square-legged.
In the middle, Mohammad Rizwan was castled by Reece Topley, another of England’s three returnees, and when Sam Curran hit one during his first over, it caused another fatal error off the crossbar, this time from Iftikhar Ahmed.
Wood again bagged the wicket of Haris Rauf to death and finished with figures of 4-0-25-3.
The dominance of the ball during Pakistan’s last gigantic chase was incongruous with what preceded it.
There was simply no bowling at Brook in this imperious touch: always one step ahead, he read the field and then played with it, passing the ball through gaps, over fielders’ heads and on five occasions over the boundary rope altogether. .
His flamboyant stroke play came during an unbroken 139-only, 72-ball partnership with Ben Duckett, the other in-form batsman on tour. On only four previous occasions, England had finished with more than the 221 to three they amassed here.
That they came together in the ninth was luck in itself: Dawid Malan and newcomer Will Jacks left in disbelief that they had thrown gimme balls into deep midwicket of Pakistan’s leg spinner Usman Qadir.
The Surrey Jacks proved more than enough duty for Alex Hales at the top of the order as England began to split playing time between the 20-man touring group, adopting the fearless approach encouraged in the early stages of the tickets to fly and hit in holes during a 40 of 22 balls.
However, Brook took things to another level. Earlier this year, he showed his mastery of these conditions with the second fastest hundred in the Pakistan Super League and showed similar intent when he lifted Qadir for the first six innings.
He also showed no discrimination between spin and rhythm, highlighting his adaptability by hooking the string twice on the long leg and also hitting directly after giving himself space.
The only time the 23-year-old from Yorkshire didn’t seem to put the ball exactly where he wanted it came when he inadvertently knocked one from Haris Rauf off his own body and into the mesh of his helmet.
Duckett played with equal precision in another fine sweeping display against the Pakistani spinners, and although his own half-century came seven balls slower than required by 24 Brook, the momentum was such that Pakistan were tasked with surpassing their previous highest chase . from 208.
Something that the initial work of England in the field considered fanciful. The tourists had intended to hold off Wood until the Lahore leg of this trip, but called him up five days ahead of schedule to inject the pace into their attack that they sorely lacked as they tried to dislodge Babar and Rizwan in the second game.
The inclusion of a left arm used to provide variation to bowling attacks, but this year England have used them as a staple in Twenty20 assignments, and although they got away with playing a trio in the opening match of the series, David Willey, Sam Curran and Luke Wood all proved to be too equal in the second, with their similar trajectories and speeds.
And on what was a perfect night for English cricket, it was their two difference players that made the difference.