Neil Wagner made history as New Zealand joined two other teams in Test history to snatch a remarkable one-run win in Test cricket over England. Heroics from the daredevil paceman saw New Zealand claim an unlikely victory after following on in the game. His team joins England and India as the only countries to follow on and win by 1 run in Test cricket.
It is the fourth time a team has won with one run in a cricket game after 146 years and over 2490 Test matches. New Zealand’s win over England also ensured series parity, maintaining their over 5-year unbeaten record at home.
England lost four wickets within the first hour in the morning session, but Joe Root set them on course for a likely 2-0 win and seventh successive Test triumph (the last time England achieved this was 19 years ago).
New Zealand’s Wagner was having none of that, especially not on home turf.
Wagner’s two catches and four wickets proved decisive at Wellington’s Basin Reserve, as the hosts record their second one-run win in history after similar heroics in 1993.
New Zealand clinched the win through Wagner’s daring play amid a looming trouncing from England. Wagner countered James Anderson’s (England) wicket and prevent a crushing defeat on day five.
England looked set to win at 258 as Joe Root (95) with Ben Stokes (33) made any signs of victory for New Zealand difficult to see with a 121-run stand. The deficit was later cut to 57 runs and five wickets on Tuesday afternoon.
Wagner got onto the scene against England afterward, and skeptics did not see anything convincing in his ability to turn things around. The paceman bled over six runs per over against England when they raced to a 267 runs win at the series opener. Many pundits believed a repeat of Wagner’s lackluster performance at Mount Maunganui was more likely, but they were in for something else.
The surprise play from Wagner shocked England’s batters, as they easily breezed past the left-armer in the tie’s first match. He was able to bowl precise bouncers at England’s batsmen. Broad was quick work for New Zealand too, and it became straightforward from there.
Wagner had Stokes and Root slogging on the pitch before effortlessly holding catches at the deep to oust England’s Stuart Broad at 11. Root fell to Wagner for 95, which comprised three sixes and eight fours. He tried a pull but got caught by Bracewell at mid-wicket, leaving Foakes as England’s recognized batsman. Foakes will get caught out at 35 later on in the innings.
The wicket left England’s tail-enders Anderson and Leach needing over six runs to claim a win. Anderson will later smack one boundary off Wagner to cut the target to just over a couple of runs.
Wagner stayed resolute, catching Anderson on the leg side for a four to send shockwaves across the stadium. The NZ paceman got the slightest touch from Anderson’s seamer before getting to Blundell for an unlikely home victory. His heroics sent teammates and fans into wild jubilation after his impressive 4-62 outing in the fourth innings.
Wagner commented in his post-match interview that “it’s a special one (the victory) “and New Zealand “will celebrate it well”.
England was quite desperate at the tail end of this game, but Wagner and Southee’s short balls and bouncers overpowered their batsmen. Southee was able to get a top edge from Foakes to Wagner at the fine leg position, reducing England’s chances of a straight win.
Wagner’s win means it’s the second time England has suffered defeat since coach McCullum and Ben Stokes (captain) took charge.
England 435/8 decl. (H. Brook 186, J. Root 153*; M. Henry 4-100, M. Bracewell 2-54) & 256 (J. Root 95, B. Foakes 35; N. Wagner 4-62, T. Southee 3-45) lost to N. Zealand 209 (T. Southee 73, T. Blundell 38; S. Broad 4-61, J. Anderson 3-37) & 483 (K. Williamson 132, T. Blundell 90; J. Leach 5-157) by 1 run
Test cricket matches won by a “follow-on” team in Test history
- In 1894, England beat Australia by 10 runs after following on in the fourth innings
- In 1981, at Headingley, England defeated Australia by 18 runs after following on
- India beat Australia by 171 runs at Kolkata, India after following on in 2001
- 2023: Wellington, New Zealand – The New Zealand team beat England by one run.
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