England Power To 279-5 At Dinner In First Test Against New Zealand
Ben Duckett and Harry Brook struck blistering half-centuries as England raced to 279-5 at dinner on the opening day of the first Test against New Zealand
Ben Duckett and Harry Brook struck blistering half-centuries as England raced to 279-5 at dinner on the opening day of the first Test against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui on Thursday.
England were closing in on 300 off just 48 overs in the day-night test as they again unleashed the aggressive approach that has carried them to nine wins from their past 10 Tests.
New Zealand's depleted attack fought back midway through the second session when Ollie Pope, Joe Root and captain Ben Stokes fell in quick succession, allowing debut pace bowlers Blair Tickner (1-72) and Scott Kuggeleijn (1-51) to claim their maiden Test scalps.
It didn't stop Brook from playing his shots, the in-form Yorkshireman accelerating to an unbeaten 79 off 64 balls that featured a glorious straight six off New Zealand captain Tim Southee (2-71).
Brook was at the crease with Ben Foakes on 27, the pair combining for a lively unbeaten stand of 70 heading into the final session under lights.
It leaves 23-year-old Brook poised to become just the second England batsman after Ken Barrington in the 1960s to hit centuries in four consecutive Tests.
Like Brook, Duckett was a revelation during the 3-0 series win in Pakistan two months ago and he maintained his hot streak with 84 off 68 balls.
The hard-hitting opener struck 14 fours and was on course to score England's fastest Test century - surpassing Gilbert Jessop's 76-ball knock against Australia in 1902 - before he fell to Tickner late in the first session.
Southee, leading his country at home for the first time, put the tourists in to bat with the hope of exploiting the pink ball's swing on a green-tinged pitch that had been covered for days because of Cyclone Gabrielle.
Their best spell came when Pope departed for 42 and Root for 14 in the space of four balls, followed soon afterwards by captain Stokes for 19.
Most of the wickets fell to aggressive shotmaking, including Root's, whose attempt at a reverse lap off Neil Wagner was steered straight into the slip cordon.
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Preparations for both sides had been disrupted by the storms that hit New Zealand and triggered a national state of emergency on Tuesday but Mount Maunganui avoided significant damage and play started on time.