Ben Stokes backs Harry Brook to break world record after England beat New Zealan

Ben Stokes backed Harry Brook to replace him as the biggest six-hitter in Test cricket after England beat New Zealand in the first Test in Mount Maunganui.

Stokes usurped England head coach Brendon McCullum at the top of the list during England’s emphatic 267-run victory.

But Stokes does not expect to hold the record for too long, tipping England team-mate Brook to surpass him following the sensational start to his Test career.

Brook has made three centuries and three fifties in eight Test innings, clearing the ropes on 15 occasions during that time, averaging three sixes per Test.

‘I was blowing that one over the ropes because I didn’t think it was going to go,’ Stokes said of his record-breaking 108th six.

‘When it went, it was like I picked Brendon up off my shoulder and dropped him. He said “well done” to me and I just said “Brooky will probably break it in the next 20 games the way he is going”.

‘I can’t see it being around too long if Harry Brook is in the side, which I imagine he will be for a long time going forward.’

Brook scored 143 runs from 122 balls across his two innings in the series opener and Stokes added: ‘Brooky is just carrying on from his amazing series in Pakistan. He is a fantastic talent. He will go on to be a global superstar.’

Yorkshire’s Brook, meanwhile, insists he has been empowered by the Stokes-McCullum regime, having averaged 78 at a strike-rage of 97 since coming into the side last summer.

‘I’ve said a few times now, the amount of freedom we have going out to bat is phenomenal,’ said the 23-year-old, who was handed a lucrative Indian Premier League contract last month.

‘I’ve never felt like that before. I feel like I can go out and do whatever I want. Even if there’s still people on the boundary, I’m still allowed to try to clear them. The amount of freedom is remarkable.

‘It’s been fun. I’ve played five games now and enjoyed every single one of them. Obviously I haven’t had a loss yet, which makes it all the better. We’re playing in such a positive style, taking the bowlers on and looking to score.

‘I think you get away with more when you’re batting. You get away with the nicks or little inside edges because you are being positive.’

The first Test was evenly poised after New Zealand made 306 in response to England’s first-innings score of 325-9 declared.

But the tourists crashed 374 inside 74 overs in the third innings before bowling New Zealand out for just 126 to secure their 10th win in 11 matches and sixth in a row.

Brook, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root and Ben Foakes all contributed with the bat, while James Anderson finished the match with seven wickets and Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson both took five.

England captain Stokes said: ‘Another great performance – we were very clinical with the bat and very clinical with the ball.

‘The most pleasing thing was whatever New Zealand threw at us with the ball we managed to react. It was entertaining cricket. Even though we came away with the result, entertaining is what we want to do.’

New Zealand skipper Tim Southee added: ‘It’s disappointing but credit to England, strategically they played it pretty well.

‘You look back in hindsight but we made the decision to bowl first thinking it was the right one. The way they batted put them in a position to declare that night. The decision was right if we could’ve bowled a little bit better on the first day.’

The second Test of this two-match series begins on Friday in Wellington.

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