“Bazball” England began the first Test against New Zealand on a swashbuckling note as they looked to run over the hosts without wasting much time.
The Brendon McCullum-coached side raced to 325/9 before declaring their first innings in the daynight pink-ball Test at the Bay Oval. The unusual declaration seemed spot on as England reduced New Zealand to 37/3 by the time the stumps were drawn.
Opener Devon Conway was 18 not out and nightwatchman Neil Wagner was on four, with James Anderson grabbing two wickets and Ollie Robinson one.
Tim Southee had sent in England to bat first on a greentinged wicket but the visitors accepted the challenge with open arms.
Quick-fire half-centuries by Ben Duckett and Harry Brook took the wind out of the Black Caps’ sails and set the platform for a sporting declaration by Ben Stokes.
Duckett needed only 68 balls for his 84 and Brook continued the T20-style batting, making his 89 from 81 deliveries.
The 23-year-old Yorkshireman has now racked up an astonishing 569 runs, including three centuries, in his seven innings in Test cricket.
Having seen four of his batsmen fall at short order when night fell, Stokes could see similar carnage unfolding for New Zealand.
“The best time to bowl is under these lights,” Brook told reporters of the declaration. “I think you can extract the most amount of swing and seam, so why not expose their top order to that?”
Written with inputs from Reuters