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England's Harry Brook celebrates his century during day one of the second Test against New Zealand at Basin Reserve in Wellington on Friday. Image Credit: AFP

London: Harry Brook is rewriting cricket’s record books after an astonishing start to his Test career that lifts him into rarefied company alongside even Australia great Donald Bradman.

The 24-year-old Yorkshireman scored his fourth Test century in just his sixth match on Friday, smashing a commanding 184 not out on day one of the second Test against New Zealand to help England recover from a perilous position.

Brook struck 24 fours and five sixes in his unbeaten knock to take his tally to 807 runs in nine innings — more than anybody else in Test history has managed at that stage of their career.

Astonishing knock

India great Sunil Gavaskar (912) and Bradman (862) scored more in their first six Tests — but Brook could yet go past them during the current match.

Aside from the sheer weight of runs, it is the style and speed with which Brook has made those scores that has caught the eye.

Alastair Cook, England’s all-time record Test run-scorer, described his innings in Wellington, where Joe Root scored a more sedate century, as “astonishing”.

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Joe Root plays the ball off his pads during his century on the first day. Image Credit: AFP

Staggering Test average

“I’m expecting him to be able to dominate Test cricket, 50-over cricket, 20-over cricket, and be one of the all-time great players — without putting too much pressure on him!” he said.

Brook, who currently boasts a staggering Test batting average of over a hundred, may not even have had his chance to shine had Jonny Bairstow not suffered a broken leg in freakish circumstances while walking on a golf course.

That injury paved the way for him to make his Test debut against South Africa at the Oval in September, where his 12 runs in one innings did not give an accurate foretaste of the fireworks to come.

He made three hundreds in three Tests during England’s victorious tour of Pakistan in December, racking up 468 runs in just five innings on batting-friendly pitches. But he hit the ground running in New Zealand in totally different conditions.

‘Amazes me’

England great Geoffrey Boycott, renowned as one of the most obdurate and defensive opening batsmen of all time, is known as an exacting judge of a player. But he had no qualms about saluting Brook’s class.

“Harry Brook is the best natural strokeplayer England have had since Kevin Pietersen,” Boycott wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

“It amazes me how he looks at ease when playing so many strokes and scoring so quickly. He never looks rushed even when he is imposing himself on all types of bowlers. That is a special gift.”

Brook has occasionally appeared vulnerable to the short ball but has no fear about going on the attack early in an innings.

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Harry Brooks punishes a short ball during his unbeaten 184 against New Zealand at Basin Resevere on Friday. Image Credit: AFP

Tales of rising stars

He has already struck twice as many sixes in Tests as David Gower and Alec Stewart, and is just five shy of Graham Gooch’s career tally. All three of those England batsmen played more than 100 Tests each.

“Brook practices to hit balls from any stage of his innings for six whereas previous generations generally only looked to clear the boundary when well set,” former England all-rounder Derek Pringle explained on Twitter.

Cricket is littered with tales of rising stars who burnt out young, with India’s Vinod Kambli, a contemporary of Sachin Tendulkar’s, often cited as a textbook case.

Kambli posted two double-centuries and two single centuries in his first seven Tests but a 17-match career was over before he turned 24.

Record run

Brook does not have the same hype surrounding him and appears to be level-headed, as was evident from a comment he made after Friday’s close, when he referred to his father David’s club career with Burley, a village cricket side in Yorkshire.

“I haven’t thought about (records) really,” he said. “But my dad’s highest score is 210 and my highest score is 194 so that’s in the back of my mind.

“I’m sure he’ll be messaging me, reminding me. I was only two years’ old at the time.”