harry brook ball was England’s unexpected game changer, firing the centurion Kane Williamson breaking New Zealand’s resistance in his first spell in international cricket and the second Test in Wellington.

The Tourists finished day four to one at 48, chasing a tough 258 to win the series 2-0, but things could easily have been tougher despite the late sacking of Zak Crawley.

While they were positioning themselves for great leadership built around hosts Williamson’s ingeniously rated 132, England certainly complained about the decision to follow the Black Caps.

With Ben Stokes Unable to bowl due to chronic knee complaints and the rest of the field squeaking 200 times in a row, Brook was called upon to turn his arm for a pedestrian-paced bowling spell.

It looked more like desperation than a calculated gamble, but the goalkeeper Ben Foakes The whole tone of the game changed when he was held in a side strip on the leg side.

After watching Williamson and Tom Blundell (90) blunt the weakening bowlers in a partnership worth 158 to 271 balls, they took the last five bases for just 28 runs to regain control of a skidding match.

New Zeland It went from 455 to five, a resounding response from Stokes’ immediate posting the previous morning, went up to 483 in a little over 10.

That left a 258-man chase on the table, steeper than Stokes might have wanted as he implemented the sequel, but well below what Brook would fear before his unexpected intervention.

Foakes is also commended for his impeccable glove work that helped Michael Bracewell choke Williamson before missing a run he should never have allowed.

Culling Foakes was touted as a possible comeback for Jonny Bairstow when he returned to conditioning, but the Surrey goalkeeper has undeniably proved his worth here. Jack Leach threw a cheesy 61.3 mammoth for long stretches before cashing in at the backend to finish with 157 five.

The home team was still trailing 202 with three points at the start of the game, with Williamson four away from being his country’s Test-run record-breaking player. On the first day of the day, he tiptoed James Anderson to see Ross Taylor’s 7,683 score, but there was still so much to do.

England advanced to the other extreme in the morning session, Henry Nicholls squirting Ollie Robinson into Brook on the third slip, and Daryl Mitchell handed Stuart Broad into the safe hands of Joe Root after a dashing half-century.

New Zealand was 99 ahead at lunch and added 98 more in mid-session as British hulls began to visibly fade. There were some hard pitches and Stokes, who seemed to have hurt himself twice while stopping the ball, was increasingly lacking.

With his left knee already having a problem, English fans need no more fitness worries to frown on. Williamson made steady progress towards his 26th face and seemed determined to prolong England’s headaches into the depths of the evening.

When Brook arrived, he seemed to signal a surrender. He made just 26 wicketless overs for Yorkshire last season, some as a spinner, and in his first 17 deliveries, cruising around 65 miles per hour, there was nothing to indicate him as a threat to Williamson.

One small wrong decision and then a sharp reminder of Foakes’ quick hands and the match was turned upside down. While Foakes isn’t sure, Root will also get his fair share of credit, begging Stokes to reconsider his original decision not to come out.

England’s greatest obstacle had been swept away by their gentlest weaponry, and they took control when Bracewell jumped the crease without making the ground.

Unable to lift his weight as a bowler, escape would have been impossible had it not been for Stokes’ chasing and shooting with complete devotion. Foakes slid the bails with one hand, with both Bracewell’s foot and club in the air and his tail exposed.

Running away tirelessly, Leach didn’t miss his chance to make money. Blundell caught up with Tim Southee and Matt Henry before he was the last to hack.

This put the out-of-form Zak Crawley back in the frame and contributed to a 24-hour flight before being kicked out the door by a rough delivery from Southee. It produced a wild top edge from the second ball of the strokes, should have been carved and carved on the chips when they were in single figures.

But it also kicked off the running chase, leaving the bat to Ben Duckett (23no) and night watchman Ollie Robinson.