Ricky Ponting, the former captain of the Australian cricket team, was left spellbound by Zak Crawley’s exhilarating performance during the Manchester Test in the Ashes series. Crawley’s awe-inspiring century not only enabled him to register the fourth fastest hundred by an English batter against Australia, but also decimated the Australian bowling attack.

The Kent-born player demonstrated remarkable prowess on the pitch, responding to criticism of his earlier performances in the series with a resounding display of talent. He reached the century mark off just 93 balls, one of the quickest hundreds by an Englishman against Australia in Test history. It was a knock that helped England race past 200 in the second session of the match, with the team managing a staggering 178 runs in only 25 overs.

The duo of Crawley and Moeen Ali played a critical role in England’s rapid scoring. Their second-wicket partnership of 121 helped set the stage for Joe Root, who continued the onslaught with Crawley, forging a century partnership in just 82 balls.

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Crawley’s exceptional performance won him praise from Ponting, who appreciated his unique ball-striking ability. “Crawley’s ball-striking was outstanding. A lot of people around English cricket have known what he is capable of. Stokes wants to pick people with special things ahead of them and what Crawley has produced is very special,” Ponting told Sky Sports.

Unaffected by the early loss of Ben Duckett, Crawley showed resilience and accelerated his scoring rate from 26 off 46 balls at lunch to reach his century in a mere 93 deliveries. By tea time, he had an unbeaten score of 132, surpassing Ben Stokes to become England’s leading run-scorer in the series.

Crawley’s ‘special knock’ saw him hit three sixes and 21 fours, contributing significantly to England’s total of 384-4. His 189 on Day 2 of the 4th Test in Manchester was not just a personal triumph, but also a testament to the aggressive style of play, known as ‘Bazball’, advocated by England’s head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes.

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Despite the weight of the occasion, Crawley looked delighted with his performance. “It was nice to get the score today and we’re in a really good position as a team so that’s great,” he said. He was also happy about sticking to the aggressive style of play asked of him by his coach, stating, “I’ve been asked by the coach to make an impact at the top and I’ve tried to do that and I play my best when I don’t let the bowlers settle on me.”

On the flip side, Australia’s bowling performance during the Manchester Test came under fire from Ricky Ponting. Expressing his disappointment, Ponting noted that the Australian bowlers’ tactics were not effective against Crawley’s form. The chest high short balls did not pose a challenge to Crawley, who was able to handle them with ease.

In conclusion, Zak Crawley’s exceptional performance during the Manchester Test earned him high praise from cricketing stalwarts like Ricky Ponting. His display of talent and resilience, coupled with his aggressive style of play, has cemented his position as a key player for England in the ongoing Ashes series.

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