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International Cricket: Harry Brook continues stunning start to Test career

England's Harry Brook is rewriting the record books in the early days of his Test career and the 24-year-old Yorkshire batter is only just getting started.

Brook was player of the match in the first Test victory against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui and he ended day one of the second Test in Wellington unbeaten on 184 off just 169 balls.

England were in trouble at 21-3 on the first day of the second Test against New Zealand when Brook joined former captain Joe Root at the crease, by the close of play the tourists were 4/11 to win the second Test and complete a 2-0 series victory.

Brilliant Brook overshadows England great Root

The number five wasted no time in asserting himself on the situation in Wellington, hitting Black Caps captain Tim Southee for three consecutive boundaries and that set the tone for an astonishing assault on the home bowlers.

Brook dominated an unbroken third-wicket stand of 294 with fellow Yorkshire star Root, who contributed 101, and it is easy to forget that he is playing only his sixth Test match.

He passed 800 runs in just his ninth innings - something no other player has managed in the history of men's Test cricket - and going into day two at Wellington he is 10/11 to score over 222.5 in the Runs 2-way market.

Prolific Pakistan series underlined huge potential

The Brendon McCullum-Ben Stokes era seems to bring out the best in Yorkshire batters, as Root and Jonny Bairstow played some brilliant innings last summer in England's home victories over New Zealand, India and South Africa.

Bairstow's injury opened the door for Brook to make his Test debut against the Proteas at The Oval in September and, while he scored 12 in his only innings, England already knew they had a gem on their hands.

Brook's colossal talent was no secret. In February 2022 he became the youngest player to score a T20 century in the Pakistan Super League and he started the English summer by racking up 967 runs in eight County Championship matches for Yorkshire at an astronomical average of 107.44.

Even so, coach McCullum and captain Stokes could not have dreamed of his impact on December's Test tour of Pakistan, where his 80-ball century helped England pile up 506-4 in just 75 overs on the first day of the series.

Brook went on to make 153 off 116 balls, also top-scoring with 87 off 65 in the second innings, and his incredible rate of scoring left England's bowlers with enough time to capture 20 wickets on a flat pitch in Rawalpindi.

More measured centuries followed in the second innings of the second Test in Multan and the first innings of the finale in Karachi, both of which propelled England to victory and earned Brook the player-of-the-match awards.

He finished his first full Test series, and England's first in Pakistan since 2005, with 468 runs and his strike-rate of 93.4 per 100 balls encapsulated the punchy approach England have adopted since McCullum's appointment in May 2022.

And that approach and the success it has brought sees England at 10/11 to win the home Ashes series against Australia outright later this year.

Boundaries still flowing in New Zealand

Brook arrived in New Zealand in confident mood after winning the T20 World Cup with England in November, demolishing Pakistan's bowlers in December and signing a £1.3million contract with Indian Premier League franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad in January.

None of that appeared to distract him from the job in hand, however, and there was an early warning for the Kiwis when he smashed five sixes off a single over in a warm-up game against a New Zealand XI in Hamilton.

There was more of the same when the serious business started in Mount Maunganui, where Brook amassed 89 and 54, scoring at quicker than a run a ball in both innings, to help set up a 267-run win for England in the day-night first Test.

He picked up his third consecutive player-of-the-match award in Tests, before making it four centuries in six innings in Wellington, despite coming in with the hosts scenting blood after three early wickets.

That innings should have England fans salivating over Brook's future and Stokes - who broke McCullum's Test record of 107 sixes in Mount Maunganui - admitted that he is just keeping the title warm for his young team-mate.

By the close of day one of the second Test, Brook had struck 101 fours and 20 sixes in just nine Test innings and it is hard to think of an England player who has made such a stunning start to their international career.

The Keighley-born right-hander seems totally at ease with his game and is not the kind of character to overcomplicate matters. Asked about the secret of his success after he blitzed 97 in the warm-up game in Hamilton, Brook replied: "I just feel like I'm hitting the ball a lot harder than I was before."

Bowlers from Pakistan and New Zealand can certainly testify to that power and there should be more to come from a scintillating talent who celebrated his 24th birthday just before the second Test began in Wellington.

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