England take charge of opening Test versus New Zealand
England concluded the first day of the first Test against New Zealand with the upper hand after Ben Stokes exorcised some decisive captaincy in Mount Maunganui.
New Zealand won the toss and put England in to bat given the tourists’ impressive record under Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum when they bat second.
Zak Crawley fell for four but his opening partner Ben Duckett knocked an impressive 84 before being given out.
The Nottinghamshire man partnered Surrey’s Ollie Pope well with the Londoner knocking 42 runs of his own.
Joe Root fell cheaply for 14 but Harry Brook continued his sensational form in Test cricket and knocked a superb 89, helped by Stokes’ 19 and Ben Foakes’ 38.
England batter Brook’s innings
Bowlers Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson and Jack Leach combined for 18 runs before captain Stokes called England’s declaration at 325-9.
With just 58.2 overs gone, it was the second quickest first innings declaration in Test history, but there was good reasoning for this.
In the day-night Test match the pink ball tends to swing more under the lights, and Stokes wanted an hour running it in with tomorrow’s forecast set to be sunny.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad are within four wickets of breaking Glen McGrath and Shane Warne’s record for wickets in a bowling partnership – they’re within four of the Australian duo’s 1,001.
But it was Ollie Robinson who got the wicket of Tom Latham when he nicked the inside edge and the rebound from the pad fell nicely into Pope’s hands.
Anderson struck twice in the final moments, crucially getting the wicket of Kane Williamson before disposing of Henry Nicholls.
It left the hosts on 37-3 at stumps from their 18 overs with England in control.
“We haven’t been told to go out there and play like that, we just try to put as much pressure on the bowlers and put away the bad balls as much as we can. It’s filtered throughout the team,” Brook, who at one point smashed 65 off 39 balls, said.
“We got the luck of the draw but we declared at a good time to bowl as many overs under the lights as possible. It’s probably going to be a bit more of a graft tomorrow.”