This fourth century – the slowest so far, yet still only from 107 deliveries – continued a theme of breaking records seemingly every time he comes out to bat. No one has more than his 807 runs after their first nine innings, and at the time of writing, only Sunil Gavaskar (912) and Don Bradman (862) have scored more in their first six Tests.
“I think so,” Brook said when asked if this was the top of his four three-figure scores. “The position of the game makes that decision, to be honest. The ones in Pakistan were amazing and good fun, but they were all very flat pitches. Today wasn’t a flat pitch. It’s a good cricket wicket, but not a flat pitch where you can smack it everywhere. I’ve done that a little bit, but it’s a pretty good pitch.
“It (the pitch) always gets easier when the ball gets a bit older. The longer you bat, it gets easier too. The hardest part about batting is the first 20 balls. If you get through that, it gradually starts to get easier. The ball got a bit older and it probably didn’t seem to do as much. There was still a little bit there, and a little bit of bounce.”
The 24-year-old heads into Saturday unbeaten on a career best score of 184. That Brook was able to play in the manner he did, operating comfortably above a run a ball for the majority of his innings was all the more impressive given the scene when he arrived to the crease. The returning Matt Henry – accompanied by his captain Tim Southee, who had chosen to bowl first upon winning the toss on a green pitch – removed England’s top three inside seven overs.
“I’m sure it’ll come down very quickly,” Brook said of that statistic. “The onus is clearly on staying grounded despite the tumbling records, and even putting forward a strong case for a fourth Player-of-the-Match award in a row. I’ve just said now actually good times at the minute, but just around the corner there might be bad times so you’ve got to enjoy these moments and cash in as much as I can.
“One of the things I’ve tried to work on over the last few years is staying as level headed as possible. There could be a bad moment from the corner and anything could happen, so enjoy the good moments. But we’ve still got four days left to play, and hopefully I can be a vital part of it tomorrow.”
In 2001, David Brook had struck an unbeaten 210 for Burley Cricket Club in the Airedale and Wharfedale League. Brook junior, aged two at the time, anticipates a message reminding him of the 26 runs left to get to draw level.
“My dad’s highest score is 210, and my highest [first-class] score is 194. So that’s in the back of my mind at the minute,” he said. “But obviously [I] need to face the first ball tomorrow, which is the main thing.”