Harry Brook stops Williamson’s record run as New Zealand set England’s target | England in New Zealand 2023

Was Harry Brook, a £1.3m signing from Sunrisers Hyderabad at the recent Indian Premier League auction, possibly undervalued?

By the end of day four at Basin Reserve, one that saw a masterclass from Kane Williamson and an England fight, and set an intriguing conclusion to this two-Test series, it was somehow not an entirely ridiculous question.

Brook scored that stunning deal on the strength of his incendiary batting, and yet the Yorkshire youngster, it seems, has another string to his bow: breaking partnership, catalyzing a meltdown and, most notably, kryptonite for a superman performance. of Williamson on the day he became New Zealand’s record run scorer.

Anyone getting up after tea unaware of the match situation was soon given a fair indication when over the public address system came the words “from Adelaide Road End…Harry Brook”. New Zealand were 442-5 afterwards, a lead of 226, and with Ben Stokes unable to bowl due to that longstanding knee problem, and his closers cooked after 147 overs on the dirt, the point had been reached. of despair.

And yet, 18 balls into Brook’s series of 65mph doublers (they’re reasonably accurate, it must be said, sent off on the wrong foot), Williamson arguably caught a catch off goalie Ben Foakes in the leg. Foakes did not appeal, Joe Root in the middle of the wicket wondered if he had heard anything and Stokes took a long time to decide if he was seriously going to give Brook a look.

As soon as the big screen showed a tremor at Snickometer, hysteria broke out among the England group. To be fair, this was Brook’s ninth first-class wicket. But on a day of leather hunting, Williamson batting beautifully in seven and a half challenge overs for 132 off 282 balls, was both an oasis in the desert for tourists and the spark for a stunning New Zealand collapse.

Michael Bracewell soon added to the little town feeling in the proceedings, going batless and foot down despite being physically on the line, with Jack Leach pulling out the fire extinguisher in the innings to finish with five for 157 from grueling 61.3 overs. . New Zealand, with Tom Blundell last to fall by a determined 90, were all in for 483 and had set England 258 to win.

Kane Williamson celebrates his 26th Test century, surpassing Ross Taylor’s record of 7,683 Test runs for New Zealand. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

It goes without saying that these days, the goal was attacked during the 11 overs before stumps. Zak Crawley was once again on a streak in a 24 from 30 ball which ended with a knife by a Tim Southee ball that tickled his stump. But Ben Duckett went to the close unbeaten on the 23rd, promoted Ollie Robinson alongside him, and England, chasing their seventh straight win, went to 48-1.

Although no doubt still puzzled by his earlier demise, Williamson could at least reflect on his 26th Test century and having surpassed Ross Taylor’s record of 7.683 Test runs for New Zealand first thing, not that he seemed remotely concerned about the latter. .

When LeBron James hit a signature jumper in Los Angeles three weeks ago to become the NBA’s all-time leading points scorer, breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 39-year-old record, he came unstuck in celebration, with the Arms raised, the crowd in ecstasy, and the game was halted for an on-court ceremony.

And Williamson? After honing Jimmy Anderson’s fourth ball of the morning across the deep midwicket boundary rope to claim the record, he took a stroll around the pitch and brushed off a few flecks of dirt like a man attending to his assignment.

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Amid lavish applause from the crowd, and with Taylor soon tweeting congratulations from afar, the great Martin Crowe’s prophecy all those years ago that Williamson would one day rise to the top of the country had been fulfilled, even if the man in the middle, humbly raking pebbles. away from his prized parsnips, it was anything but.

Resuming his overnight score of 25, and with his team still 24 runs behind, Williamson buried the ego he almost certainly doesn’t possess and settled in for the long haul. Henry Nicholls fell early for 29, Robinson extracted arguably the last move from the pitch as an edge flew in to slip, but the impetus came from the tough Daryl Mitchell pumping a run-a-ball 54 into a fifth wicket position worth 75 runs.

Eliminated eventually by a short pass from Stuart Broad and an excellent catch from Root, Mitchell’s departure brought Blundell to the crease for the start of a 158-run partnership alongside Williamson that stretched either side of an afternoon session without wicket and used up the last drops of energy from the legs of England’s seam attack.

A chance came and went, Anderson bowling a low chance when the wicketkeeper was on 30. Otherwise it was getting harder and harder to watch either right-hander get uprooted, Williamson sealing his century 20 minutes from tea when he cut past Broad the point back for his eighth four and offered a typically modest wave of the bat.

That was until Stokes turned to the unlikely Brook and the ensuing chaos had his weary players dreaming of becoming the first England Test team since 1899 to win their entire list of winter matches.

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