England’s Brook lives up to ‘superstar’ billing
Ben Stokes was not indulging in hyperbole when he tipped five-test-old Harry Brook for global stardom heading into the series final against New Zealand, and the England Test captain will feel vindicated by the 24-year-old’s batting on Friday.
Brook blasted a career-best 184 not out, his fourth Test hundred in nine innings, to propel England to an imposing 315-3 before rain brought relief for the hosts at the Basin Reserve.
“He is a fantastic talent. I think he will go on to be a global superstar,” Stokes had said after Brook claimed his third successive player-of-the-match award with scores of 89 and 54 in their comprehensive victory in Tauranga.
Brook’s admirers include Joe Root, his partner in a game-changing 294-run stand for the unbroken fourth wicket on Friday, who believes the way Brook has been “almost bullying Test attacks” was “extraordinary”.
Root’s own unbeaten 101 was completely overshadowed by Brook’s 169-ball blitz which included five sixes and 24 fours.
England were reeling at 21-3 when Brook walked in and raced to nearly a run-a-ball fifty, eventually bringing up his 100 off 107 balls. The belligerent right-hander then stepped on the gas and his 150 came off 145 balls.
“It was just the usual mindset,” Brook told BT Sport after the day’s play.
“Like I’ve said plenty of times, I look to put pressure on the bowler and be as positive as possible.”
“I did change a few little things, but the more positive you are generally the more you get away with. I was trying to be as positive as possible.”
“We’ve got them on the back foot now; hopefully we can carry that on in the next few days.”
After nine innings, which include three hundreds in Pakistan, Brook now averages nearly 101 and has a jaw-dropping strike rate of 99.38.
His swashbuckling batting has earned him a $1.6 million deal with Sunrisers Hyderabad for his maiden stint in this year’s Indian Premier League.
Hyderabad, much like Stokes, too will feel vindicated, having splurged on him for this year’s edition of the world’s richest T20 league beginning next month.
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