Recent Match Report – England v New Zealand First Test 2022/23

Dinner England 279 for 5 (Brooke 79*, Focus 27*) Vs New Zealand

Harry Brooke’s 64-ball 79, Ben Duckett’s 68-ball 84 in the opening session, provided substance to one of England’s new-style Test innings in the pink-ball Test at Mt Maunganui. However, New Zealand’s put-up seamers picked up five wins to put themselves in contention by dinner on the opening day.

At the break, England had scored 279 for 5 in 48 overs, at a run rate of 5.81, having been asked to bat first against a New Zealand attack that featured a pair of debutants in Blair Tickner and Scott Cuglijon. was included. And although both men endured some rough treatment, notably from Duckett in the first session and Brooke in the second, they also picked up a first wicket apiece as England’s attacking ambitions improved with a succession of free-flowing batsmen. gone.

And yet, such was the startling pace of Duckt and Brooke’s innings that England had already scored more runs in two sessions than most teams normally do in three. Everyone was superb in the 3-0 series win in Pakistan before Christmas, with Brooke in particular now holding the most staggering figures in Test history – at 93.16 from seven innings to date. 559 runs, at a strike rate of 95.55 to boot.

Brooke’s remarkable 62 came at the boundary – 14 fours, the majority scorched through point, and a six down the ground from Tim Southee as he turned on the style late in the session, the floodlights turning on. And when the final session gets under way, he will have a chance to surpass a record that has been in jeopardy since the dawn of the buzz-ball era – the legendary 76-ball century of Gilbert Jessup, England’s all-time Test batsman. Has the fastest century.

For much of the first session, it looked like Duckett would be the first man to get there. Instead, after posting a 36-ball fifty – the fastest by an England Test opener – he got on a lot of drives and dismissed Michael Bracewell at cover to give Tickner his first wicket. He also hit 14 fours in his innings, including a mid-morning volley of seven off 14 balls, as New Zealand’s quick hands and combative attitude broke his strings.

After the misleading early loss of Zak Crawley for 4, England’s hunger for runs was at times the biggest threat to their ambitions. From a strong base of 152 for 2 shortly after tea, England slipped to a mid-session nadir of 209 for 5 when skipper Ben Stokes bowled a straight over at short midwicket to a restless Paul Coggleton for a remarkable finish. Handed the first skull.

By this stage, Joe Root – another established great in the England ranks – came and went in another devil-may-care innings of 14 off 22 balls, capped by another of his favorite rampages off Neil Wagner. , but then four overs later ended with the same stroke, when Wagner took the ball out a touch of off-stump, Daryl Mitchell diving to his right at slip to preempt the under-aged chance.

If there was a feeling at times that England were in danger of overreaching themselves with this bold new approach, it was only heightened one over before Root’s dismissal, when Ollie Pope calmly delivered 65 balls. But on 42 runs, he had controlled his own tempo. The first spell of sustained pressure that New Zealand had managed all day was undone. Although his first maiden over of the day would not come until the 47th over, Southee restricted Pope to eight dot balls in ten balls when he bowled one wide of the crease, hard to slip. Hand drive was encouraged.

And yet, if England does not wish to die by the sword, they are equally determined to live their best lives in the midst of it. At dinner, Ben Fowkes also came into the limelight with an impressive knock of 27 off 33 balls, scoring 70 for the sixth wicket in just 10.1 overs.

Andrew Miller is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket

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