Harry Brook continued to show how special he was as he consolidated on his fifth successive Test fifty scored in the first session with a scintillating 107-ball 100 – fourth in just his sixth Test appearance – as England took control of the proceedings at Basin Reserve at Tea break on Day 1. Joe Root kept him company as the fourth-wicket pair took England to 237 for 3.
Almost every New Zealand bowler overpitched against Brook and got disdainfully dealt with as the swing that was on offer in the morning session had waned. Against Daryl Mitchell, the right-hander hit a straight six and followed it with one over long on the next ball. Against Matt Henry, he once again went down the ground for a four. He meted out similar treatment to off-spinner Michael Bracewell, and got into the 90s.
Root kept him waiting for a little for his hundred as he farmed the strike, but it came soon – off just 107 balls. Root too got to his half-century as New Zealand bowlers just couldn’t find a way through in the second session. The former England captain stayed away from even attempting the reverse sweep – the shot that led to his dismissal in both innings in the first Test.
Though Tim Southee brought back Matt Henry for this fixture and reaped rewards in the morning session, his bowling attack once again looked short against England’s expansive batting ideas. While the captain and Henry posed questions early on, England were let off by New Zealand’s support cast which failed to provide any support. Daryl Mitchell’s medium pace went for almost six an over, and Neil Wagner continued to hemorrhage runs like he did in the first Test – going for 81 in 12 overs – as Brook once again targetted the left-armer.
Despite starting the second session in a slightly cautious manner, Root and Brook found the recent trademark England rhythm when they aimed to move on in a jiffy. The England duo achieved that as they scored 136 runs off 27 overs in the second session, taking their fourth-wicket partnership to 216 runs. As the session came to a close, Root moved into the 70s while Brook was batting on 136 off 131, with 18 fours and three sixes to his name.
Brief Scores: England 237/3 (Harry Brook 136*, Joe Root 72*; Matt Henry 2-46) vs New Zealand