Joe Root 153*, England declare first innings on 435 for 8

Innings break England 435 for 8 (Brook 186, Root 153*, Henry 4-100) vs New Zealand

England spluttered and wheezed but were guided along by Joe Root‘s serene, unbeaten 153 before Ben Stokes declared early for the second Test running during an eventful morning session at Basin Reserve.
New Zealand’s bowlers picked up five wickets, which included seeing off Harry Brook for the addition of just two runs to his overnight 184, but continued to take some tap in the face of more gung-ho batting. Matt Henry was the man to finally get the better of Brook, and he finished with 4 for 100 after Stokes called Root and Jack Leach in after one ball of the 88th over.

The platform had been set by the exploits of Brook and Root on day one, England’s fourth-wicket pair resuming a stand worth 294. Root rolled out his reverse-ramp in the second over of the day, depositing Tim Southee for six over deep third, but Brook’s fun was cut short in sight of a maiden double-century when he drilled a return catch to Henry, the bowler holding on at the second attempt.

His dismissal meant the partnership closed on 302, scored at almost exactly five runs an over – England’s highest for any wicket in New Zealand, and more than two-thirds of their eventual total.

Stokes himself produced another frenetic innings, repeatedly looking to make room and slap the seamers over the off side. There were a couple of nicely timed boundaries to go with several miscues before he was dismissed for 27 off 28 balls, hacking Neil Wagner limply to mid-off.

Ben Foakes might perhaps have been relied on to bring a more sober approach to proceedings, but he was stumped in bizarre fashion in the following over, falling out of his crease against the offspin of Michael Bracewell. Stuart Broad was lbw to Bracewell soon after, meaning England had lost 4 for 66 with the second new ball looming.

Root, having played second fiddle to Brook on Friday, was keen to unfurl his full range, and slog-swept Bracewell into the crowd before taking Southee for six and four with the new ball. Ollie Robinson played as many shots with only a fraction of the timing, but was badly dropped Blundell off Henry before plinking to mid-off next ball. Root then passed 150 with his sixth boundary of the session, before England walked off in order to give their bowlers a crack at New Zealand before lunch.