Harry Brook hits nine sixes en route to 97 as England start New Zealand tour

Harry Brook launched nine sixes before falling for 97 as England kicked off their tour of New Zealand with a typically assertive batting performance in Hamilton.

After two sessions the tourists had racked up 375 for six, scoring at a punishing rate of 7.2 an over as their bold approach to the longest format continued to provide plenty of thrills and spills.

Captain Ben Stokes opted not to take the field, allowing Ollie Pope to lead the side instead. There are no injury doubts over the skipper, who was said to be happy with his preparations and did not feel the need to face the local attack.

Brook, who scored three centuries in as many Tests during the whitewash over Pakistan before Christmas, was in electric form as he lashed a New Zealand XI to all parts of Seddon Park on the first of two days of warm-up action.

Rookie leg-spinner Adi Ashok bore the brunt, pounded for five consecutive sixes in an over after Brook blocked the first delivery.

The first of those maximums not only cleared the boundary rope, it also soared straight over an ambulance, beyond a security fence and on to the main road out of the ground.

Brook also showed his class against a proven international performer, lacing a flat pull for six more off Kyle Jamieson, the 6ft 8in Black Caps seamer who is set to feature in the Test series later this month.

The Yorkshireman’s innings ended in fitting fashion after 71 balls, aiming an uppercut at Jarrod McKay and being caught on the ropes at deep third. A few more inches on the shot and it would have been a tenth six and another hundred.

Joe Root had earlier made a thoroughly accomplished 77 while Dan Lawrence, who looks set to carry the drinks in the series proper, thrashed a lively 85. Zak Crawley (17), Ben Duckett (32) and Pope (26) all failed to kick on after getting starts.