England they formed an imposing lead on the third evening of their counter series opening. New Zelandon a day to see the captain Ben Stokes He replaced his own head coach as the six-hitter leader in test cricket.

A half-century trio from Joe Root (54) harry brook (57) and Ben Foakes (51) continued to drive as they moved the tourists to 349 in eight, already 368 ahead, but a single blow from the captain earned them a round of applause and a knowing smile from Brendon McCullum.

The former Kiwi captain retired in 2016 with a world record of 107 sixes, and Stokes evened that mark at Multan before Christmas.

In the middle of the third day, Scott acted on his own with a feverish tug on Kuggeleijn’s slender foot, and McCullum acknowledged that the torch had passed through the team balcony. Stokes helped another ball from the next ball and Neil Wagner after pressing the border sponge, it helps over the line.

The captain was clearly thirsting for more, but stunned for 31 points, both feet off the ground as the spinner slammed into Michael Bracewell and stepped out into the fresh air.

New Zealand must have their fourth-best hit chase ever with a record of 324 against Pakistan in 1994, but there was potential concern about bowling attacks as Ollie Robinson was undergoing physical therapy while batting.

England made their intentions clear after continuing the two in 79, pushing the game forward at their usual frenetic pace in the afternoon session.

With just over 25 shots, they had 158 laps, their enthusiasm came with the price tag of four goals.

Wagner found himself right in the middle of the storm, picking up a few scalps but also on the receiving end of some severe blows. Stubbornly hitting a relentless short-pitched bowling barrage, he found a batting lineup perfectly willing to take on the challenge.

At one stage, he leaked 84 laps from just seven overs and conceded an eye-watering 104 at the end of his 11th inning.

Things started off well for the left ranger who secured Stuart Broad’s post, as “night hawk” was a short affair. His Friday night promotion caused a lot of excitement, the term even trending on Twitter at home, but seven seconds were gone when he turned a simple catch into gully.

This feat was like a red herring for Wagner, who continued to serve tampons but found Pope and Root far less helpful. The next two extras each disappeared by 16 points, Pope went into the line and drew him six big sixes behind the square.

Root watched, learned, and repeated—almost imitating the shot as he gave more catching practice to the massive fans on Mr. Oval’s grassy banks.

Wagner refused to back down even when Pope slapped him over the trench and into the empty midfield, and was rewarded for insisting that number three threw the next ball behind him.

The arrival of Harry Brook in form was never going to slow things down and he immediately shone with 37 balls for a great half century. As Brook was beating seven-four and two-six, Wagner was once again in the line of fire.

Talking of a one-hundred-fourth Test in eight innings stopped when Blair notched Tickner to slide, aiming for a nudge towards the third. Root joined him in the pavilion in the final part of the session, ending a reverse sweep for the slide with the tip of his toe, getting a second dismissal in a version of that kick in the match.

England made 112 more for the loss of Stokes and Foakes before the second break, the latter contributing to the most measured effort ever, and will hope their tails last long enough to send the hosts through the grueling twilight.