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Harry Brook hit 5 sixes before New Zealand clash

England’s Harry Brook warmed up for the first Test against New Zealand in Hamilton by smashing five sixes in an over, typical of the team’s aggressive nature.

In the first day of the two-day pink-ball match against a New Zealand XI, Brook scored 97 of England’s 465 all out in just 69.2 overs.

When Adi Ashok, a leg-spinner, had Brook defending the first ball of an over, he proceeded to hit five consecutive balls for sixes.

Joe Root scored 77, while Ben Foakes scored 55, and Dan Lawrence scored 85.

In preparation for the day-night opener of the two-Test series in Mount Maunganui on February 16, England is playing one two-day match under floodlights instead of two. The original plan was to play one match with a red ball and another with a pink ball.

England batted first because they knew they would bat last, and they batted aggressively against a New Zealand team that included pace bowler Kyle Jamieson, who has since recovered from a back injury and been re-called to the Test squad.

After defending Ashok’s first delivery into the off side, Brook slog-swept the second ball from the over over the midwicket boundary and out of the ground to begin the onslaught. Brook was denied a century when he uppercut seamer Jarrod McKay into the hands of third man.

The tourists take on the Black Caps at the Bay Oval, and if Brook repeats his performance from the three Tests he batted in during England’s 3-0 series win in Pakistan, he will become only the second English batter to score centuries in four consecutive Tests, joining Ken Barrington, who did so twice in the 1960s.

What Harry Brook thinks

That doesn’t bother me at all,” Brook said to BBC Sport. If I don’t score any runs, that’s fine, but if I do, that’s a huge bonus.

What I really want is to play a significant role in helping England win as many games as possible.

There are a lot of players across the country, as Brook from Yorkshire pointed out. Some are sitting at home or competing in a Twenty20 league. You have to keep scoring runs because there is always competition for spots.

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Lawrence is in the lineup because Ben Stokes decided to rest, and his 55-ball knock of 12 fours and three sixes showed how deep England’s batting lineup is.

While New Zealand captain Tim Southee watched from the stands, Stokes got some at-bats in the nets and practiced his bowling in the middle during the break.

Once again, he put his faith in Ollie Pope, the Surrey native who is being groomed for a leadership role. Pope scored 26, Duckett scored 32, and Crawley scored 17.

Root appeared to be in fine touch, but he nicked a sweep down the leg side off a poor Ashok delivery.

The former captain has gone six Tests without scoring a century, a dry spell that is all the more surprising given his spectacular form dating back to the start of 2021.

Jonny Bairstow is still out for the season after breaking his leg in a golfing accident.

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