Brook, Root put England in charge in 2nd test vs New Zealand

Harry Brook has made 184 and Joe Root 101 in an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 294 which carried England to 315-3 at stumps

Updated - February 25, 2023 06:30 pm IST

Published - February 24, 2023 11:18 am IST - WELLINGTON, New Zealand

England’s Joe Root and teammate Harry Brook walk the field as rain stops play on the first day of the second cricket test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand on February 24, 2023.

England’s Joe Root and teammate Harry Brook walk the field as rain stops play on the first day of the second cricket test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand on February 24, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

Harry Brook made 184 and Joe Root 101 in an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 294 which carried England to 315-3 at stumps Friday on the rain-shortened first day of the second cricket test against New Zealand.

A day which began without promise with a lost toss and three early wickets ended after only 65 overs and after a parade of records and milestones which saw England take almost unbreakable control of the match and series.

Brook’s score was his highest in tests, beating his 153 against Pakistan in December, and was his fourth century in his last five tests. He also has three half-centuries and now has 807 runs from only nine test innings, more than any other player in the history of test cricket at that point in their careers.

Behind him now are players such as Henry Sutcliff, Everton Weekes, Frank Worrell and Sunil Gavaskar. His score already is the highest by an England batsman in Wellington.

Brook said he went to the crease with England 21-3 with “just the usual mindset, just the way I’ve been playing the whole time I’ve been playing test cricket to be honest.

“I looked to put pressure on the bowler and be as positive as possible,” he said. "I did change a few little things but the more positive you are generally the more you get away with.”

Root has his 29th test century, completing the milestone a moment before the rain began. The partnership between Yorkshiremen now is England’s highest for the fourth wicket against New Zealand.

England reinforced the superiority over New Zealand the visitors showed in the first test which they won by 267 runs and they now look likely to become the first team to beat New Zealand in a test series at home for six years.

Brook was man in the match for his scores of 89 and 54 in the first test, both of which were made at better than a run a ball and helped take that match away from New Zealand.

The home team had only a few days to regroup from that mauling and were reinforced Friday by the return of fast bowler Matt Henry and batsman Will Young while England happily named an unchanged side.

New Zealand would have been happy when it won the toss and bowled first, more so when Henry and Tim Southee had early success and England stumbled to 21-3 in less than seven overs.

Then came Brook and once again the match was transformed. His first half century was sedate by his standards, coming from 51 balls and his century came from 107 deliveries, the second 50 from 56 balls. He then went on to 150 from 145 balls, having stepping up his and England’s scoring. The third half century needed only 38 balls and was a trial for New Zealand who saw the match slipping away.

New Zealand had taken the risk of playing with an extra batsman, perhaps motivated by the dual failure of their top order in the first test. That left them with the all-rounder Daryl Mitchell as their third seamer, bowling relatively unthreatening medium pace.

And they went again with Neil Wagner who England milked for 192 runs from just over 29 overs in the first test.

Brook might have shown some caution at the start of the innings after seeing Zac Crawley, Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope all fall to catches behind the wicket.

But after a settling in period he approached his innings with typical forcefulness while Root provided him unwavering support.

The rain began to fall just after 5 p.m. and prevented further play.

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