Crawley was happy to repay England’s trust with a stunning century in the Ashes.
Zak Crawley said that he would have been kicked out of any other England team. On Thursday, he played a great hundred in the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford, which showed that captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum were right to back him.
England was 384-4 at the end of the second day on Thursday, 67 runs ahead of Australia’s first innings score of 317. This is a match that England must win if they want to get back the Ashes, as they are down 2-1 with two games left.
Before England’s five-match series with Australia, the current world Test winners and holders of the Ashes, many people were questioning Crawley’s place in the team.
But Stokes and McCullum never lost faith in the quick shooter. Along with the captain and star batter Joe Root, Crawley is one of only three players who have never left the team during the “Bazball” era.
Crawley proved that his supporters were right on Thursday when he got his first Ashes century. He scored at a rate of more than a run per ball while facing 182 balls, hitting 21 fours and three sixes.
“It’s safe to say that if I had a different coach or captain, I probably wouldn’t be playing in this series,” Crawley told media after stumps. So, the fact that they support me gives me a lot of faith.
The Kent right-hander, who is 25 years old, has now scored the most runs for either team in this series, with 385 runs at a very good average of 55.
“They have always told me not to worry about being reliable and just to go out and try to win games for England. I just tried to do what came naturally to me,” he said.
Root (84) and Crawley had a stand of 206 in just 186 balls. Crawley had a few lucky breaks when he played and missed.
But his fourth hundred of his 38-Test career was also full of great shots.
“To be honest, I have a lot of faith in luck,” he said.
“If I have a little luck, I just say, ‘That’s my little luck for the day. I don’t think I’ve gotten away with anything.
Crawley did admit, though, that he was starting to question himself after getting four scores between 33 and 61 in the first three Tests of this series.
“I was too focused on the score and not enough on what was going on around me,” he said.
“Baz McCullum talks about being in the here and now. I was much more present here, and I think that helped me get a high score, rather than thinking about getting a high score before I got there.”
On Thursday, Australia’s captain Pat Cummins seemed nervous, especially between lunch and tea, when England scored 178 runs in 25 overs.
The fast bowler didn’t get any wickets and cost a lot because he dropped catches and moved fielders to where the ball had just gone. His score was 0-93 in 16 overs.
Australia was trying to win the Ashes series in England for the first time since 2001. The day went from bad to worse when fast bowler Mitchell Starc went off late in the game after falling hard on his left shoulder while diving to stop.
He is due to go back to work on Friday, though.
Also, Australia’s assistant coach Daniel Vettori said of England’s run-scoring spree, “This was that perfect storm of them coming hard at us and us not being able to come back and get some with wicket-taking options.”