Brook, Root form century stand after England slip to 21/3

On a surface that was so grassy it resembled the outfield, Tim Southee won a crucial toss and New Zealand made early inroads in the morning session on Day 1 at the Basin Reserve. The returning Matt Henry snuffed out Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope before Southee removed Ben Duckett to earn his 700th international wicket – becoming the first New Zealander to achieve the milestone.

England steadied the ship through Joe Root and Harry Brook who forged with an undefeated 80-run stand to drag the visitors to 101 for 3 at Lunch. In the final over before the break, Brook raised his fourth Test half-century, off 51 balls.

With appreciable swing on offer, the England openers were found wanting. Zak Crawley wafted to feather the ball to Tom Blundell behind the stumps. Ollie Pope played inside the line of a good length ball that moved away a touch and ended up offering a nick. The ball travelled at pace off the edge but Michael Bracewell took a sharp catch at third slip. Shortly after, Bracewell dived to his left to take an exceptional one-handed catch to remove Ben Duckett and leave England at 21/3. Though New Zealand made a flying start, they were less than assured with their DRS decisions, burning two reviews by the end of the sixth over.

Joe Root and Harry Brook mixed caution with aggression to take England to 53/3 at the end of the first hour’s play. As the session progressed, the swing diminished and the pair took England to Lunch without further damage.

Brief Scores: England 101/3 (Harry Brook 51*; Matt Henry 2-27) vs New Zealand

Tags England