Crawley doubted second England chance


Zak Crawley
Crawley scored 117 not out from 200 balls on day four in Antigua

England’s Zak Crawley said “I didn’t think I’d get this opportunity again” after scoring his second Test century in the first Test against West Indies.

He hit a measured 117 not out as England dominated day four to end 217-1 and set up a small chance of victory.

Crawley’s ton came 22 innings after his first Test hundred and an 18-month period in which he was dropped during a wretched run of form.

“It’s a very special feeling,” the 24-year-old opener told BT Sport.

“It was a tough year last year, at times I didn’t think I would get this opportunity again.

“So I am absolutely delighted and pleased to be in a good position to win tomorrow.”

Crawley shared an unbeaten stand of 193 with captain Joe Root on a lifeless pitch in Antigua.

It leaves England with an outside chance of forcing a win on the final day, if they can add further runs, declare and dismiss their hosts in the time that remains.

Crawley overturned an lbw decision on nought but did not offer another chance all day.

After scoring a brilliant 267 against Pakistan in his eighth Test in August 2020, Crawley was dropped last summer after averaging 11.14 across the seven Tests that followed.

He was recalled for the third Ashes Test against Australia in December and made an impressive 77 a match later in Sydney.

“I have tried to rein in my game in a bit more since I have come back into the team, putting a few shots away that I was playing last year that were getting me in trouble,” Crawley told BBC Sport.

“I felt under pressure at the start. I always feel nervous.

“It means a lot play Test cricket. I was looking to be careful early and push on as I got in.”

Root ended the day 84 not out as he looks for a first Test hundred of 2022, having scored the most runs by an England batter in a calendar year in Test history in 2021.

“He has such a calm head and he’s such a great player obviously,” Crawley said.

“He made it a lot easier for me when I was nervous in the 90s – he said, ‘Just keep batting one ball at a time’ and that helped a lot.

“He was telling me to stay calm, helping me make good decisions the whole way through it.”

Despite England’s dominant day, the placid nature of the pitch means it will be difficult for them to force a win by taking 10 West Indies wickets on the final day.

“We certainly want to try and win it tomorrow,” said Crawley.

“The pitch needs to break up little more but if we bat well in the morning and have 70-75 overs to bowl them out [we have a chance].

“Even if it doesn’t break up we will try all day. You always have a sniff when pressure is on the scoreboard.”

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