England warmed up for the first Test against New Zealand with their trademark intensity in Hamilton. Harry Brook blasted five sixes in an over as England prepared for the match.
In the first day of the two-day pink-ball match that England was playing against a New Zealand XI, Brook made 97 of the 465 runs that England scored before being all out in only 69.2 overs.
Following his successful defence of the first ball of an over bowled by Adi Ashok’s leg spin, Brook then proceeded to knock the following five balls for maximums.
The final score for Dan Lawrence was 85, while Joe Root made 77 and Ben Foakes made 55.
Instead of playing two two-day matches – one with a red ball and another with the pink – England will play just one match, which will take place under floodlights. This is so that England can get ready for the day-night opener to the two-Test series, which will take place in Mount Maunganui on February 16.
This batting day had already been decided, and England showed all of their offensive intent against a home team that included pace bowler Kyle Jamieson, who has been included in the New Zealand Test squad after returning from a back injury. England won this batting day.
To begin the onslaught, Brook defended the first ball from Ashok’s over into the off side. He then slog-swept the next ball over the mid-wicket boundary and out of the ground. Brook almost reached a century, but he uppercut seamer Jarrod McKay into the hands of third man instead of hitting the ball over the boundary.
When the tourists take on the Black Caps at the Bay Oval, Brook, who scored hundreds in all three Tests of England’s 3-0 victory in Pakistan, will have the opportunity to become just the second England batter to score centuries in four consecutive Tests, following Ken Barrington, who did so twice in the 1960s.
When asked about it, Brook told BBC Sport, “I’m not bothered about that.” “If I don’t get runs, that’s fine with me; however, if I do get runs, that’s an incredible bonus.
“All that I want to do is attempt to win as many games for England as I possibly can, and I hope that I can play a significant role in that,” he said.
“There are such a large number of players around the country,” Yorkshire’s Brook noted. “There are some who have gone back to their homes or are competing in a Twenty20 competition. Because there is constant rivalry for positions, you need to keep on scoring runs in order to stay in the game.
Lawrence is playing because Ben Stokes decided to sit out the match, and the Essex man showed how deep England’s batting lineup is with a knock of 55 balls that included 12 fours, three sixes, and three maximums.
During the break between innings, Stokes bowled in the middle, batted in the nets, and spoke with New Zealand captain Tim Southee, who was present as a spectator. Southee was watching the match from the stands.
Ollie Pope, a man from Surrey who is being prepared for a future leadership role, was given the reigns of the captaincy once more. Zak Crawley had 17 points, Pope made 26, and Ben Duckett had 32.
Before he missed a sweep down the leg side after a bad delivery from Ashok, Root appeared to be in excellent touch with the ball.
The former captain will be trying to halt a streak of six tests in which he has not scored a hundred run, which is a somewhat dry spell given his exceptional form that dates back to the beginning of 2021.
Jonny Bairstow is still unable to play due to a broken leg that he suffered during an accident while playing golf.