Brook, Root centuries put England in charge of New Zealand Test



Red-hot Harry Brook made a majestic 184 not out to put England firmly in control against New Zealand in Wellington on Friday in the second Test. Joe Root was unbeaten on a classy 101 as the tourists rampaged their way to 315-3 before rain ended the opening day of the series decider early.

Brook’s breathtaking display at the Basin Reserve made him the first player to score 800 or more runs in his first nine Test innings. The 24-year-old came to the crease with England wobbling at 21-3 inside the first seven overs. The hosts won the toss and elected to bowl on a green wicket.

That decision paid instant reward as New Zealand quickly dismissed England’s top order of Zak Crawley (two), Ben Duckett (nine) and Ollie Pope (10). Matt Henry and skipper Tim Southee did the early damage for the hosts under expectedly blue skies. Henry, back after missing the first Test with the birth of his child, forced Crawley into being caught behind as the opener’s sticky run continued.

All-rounder Michael Bracewell then made two superb catches in the slips to first dismiss Pope, then Duckett. The dismissal of Duckett following Bracewell’s diving catch gave Southee a 700th international wicket in all formats, becoming the first New Zealander to reach the milestone. However, it then became the Brook show as he took his Test average to just over 100 in only his sixth match.

Brook was player of the match in the first Test with back-to-back half centuries to help England to a 267-run win. He continued the remarkable start to his England Test career with a magnificent unbeaten knock laced with 24 fours and give sixes. His 184 came off 169 balls.—INP