Harry Brook’s impressive display of power hitting was the highlight of England’s warm-up match against a New Zealand XI in Hamilton.
Brook hit an astonishing five sixes in one over as England put up an impressive score of 465 all out in only 69.2 overs on day one of the two-day match, which was played under floodlights with a pink ball to prepare for the day-night opener to the two-Test series.
Brook’s incredible knock of 97 runs off just 57 balls was the stand-out performance of the day. The Yorkshire opener played with all the attacking intent that England are renowned for and demonstrated his exceptional talent with the bat.
Brook defended the first ball of an over from leg-spinner Adi Ashok into the off side, then slog-swept the next ball over the mid-wicket boundary and out of the ground, starting an impressive display of power hitting. Brook only missed out on a century when he uppercut seamer Jarrod McKay into the hands of the third man.
Brook, who made hundreds in all three Tests of England’s 3-0 win in Pakistan, has the opportunity to become just the second England batter to score centuries in four successive Tests after Ken Barrington did so twice in the 1960s.
Despite the accolade, Brook is focused on doing what he does best, which is playing for England and helping the team win games.
“I’m not bothered about [scoring a century in four successive Tests],” Brook told BBC Sport. “If I don’t get runs, so be it, but if I do get runs, it’s an absolute bonus. All I want to do is try to win as many games as I can for England, and hopefully, I can be a vital part of that. There are so many players in the country, and there is always competition for places; that is why you have to keep on scoring runs.”
Dan Lawrence weighed in with 85 runs and played an important role in England’s innings, while Joe Root made 77 and Ben Foakes 55. Lawrence was playing after captain Ben Stokes opted to sit out, and the Essex man demonstrated England’s batting depth with a 55-ball knock that included 12 fours and three sixes.
Stokes, who handed the captaincy reins to Ollie Pope, the Surrey man being groomed for leadership, batted in the nets, bowled in the middle during an interval, and chatted to New Zealand skipper Tim Southee, who was in attendance as a spectator. Pope made 26, Ben Duckett 32, and Zak Crawley 17.
This warm-up match was a great opportunity for England to test their skills and tactics against a New Zealand side that included pace bowler Kyle Jamieson, who has been included in the New Zealand Test squad after recovering from a back injury. The match was a positive start for England as they head into the first Test against New Zealand on February 16th.