HARRY BROOK played perhaps the most remarkable innings of his short Test career when he blitzed 184 not out from 169 balls against New Zealand.
And former captain Joe Root recaptured his run-scoring form with his first century in seven Tests.
The pair came together with England in trouble at 21-3 and, by the time rain brought a premature end to day one of the Second Test in Wellington, had put on 294 in just 58.2 overs.
England, who have won ten out of 11 Tests since Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum took over the team, were 315-3 and in another strong position against New Zealand.
Brook’s fourth century in nine Test innings contained five sixes and 24 fours and was nothing short of a destruction of the Blackcaps’ bowlers.
There were cuts, pulls and a string of brutal blows down the ground.
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He has now scored 807 runs in his Test career – the most by a player after nine innings in the history of the game. And those runs have come from just 812 deliveries.
Root was more restrained but found the form and tempo for which he has been searching in recent matches. This was his 29th Test century.
Before the match, Root admitted to an identity crisis in the Bazball revolution but he was the perfect foil for the dominant Brook.
And he even successfully played for four one of the reverse shots to which he twice succumbed in the First Test.
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Brook makes every look and sound so easy but he is helping to re-write the way Test cricket is played.
He said: “I had the usual mindset for how I’ve been playing Test cricket – look to put the pressure on the bowlers and be as positive as possible.
“On that pitch, I was trying to move around a lot in the crease so I did change a few things. But I think the more positive you are, the more you get away with.
“There were a few mis-cues into gaps from which I might have been caught if I’d been more half-hearted.
“Joe and I were both moving around the crease and trying to put the bowlers off their lengths. There was a little in the pitch for the bowlers so we were trying to negate that.
“I think Joe was more excited than me about my hundred. He’s unbelievable to bat with. It became a perfect partnership, really.
“Joe struggled a bit at the start and couldn’t quite middle anything but, as he got into his innings, he was the Joe Root everyone knows and loves.
“I’ve never made a double century so I’ll be thinking about that a bit overnight.”
England were put into bat on a emerald green pitch that promised lavish movement for the quick bowlers. And they were soon in trouble.
Zak Crawley failed again, caught behind for just two, and then Ollie Pope was held by Michael Bracewell at third slip after hitting a couple of boundaries.
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Ben Duckett was brilliantly held by Bracewell diving to his left at third slip.
That brought Brook together with Root and they were soon piling on the runs at an ever-increasing rate.
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