On Tuesday, New Zealand scripted history in Wellington as they became only the fourth team to win a Test match after being imposed with a follow-on. In a classic fifth-day contest, they pulled off a stunning one-run win over England.
Pacer Neil Wagner was the star for Kiwis, who scalped four wickets, conceding 62 runs, and lion-heartedly took the final wicket of James Anderson (caught behind down the leg-side) to clinch the famous win at Basin Reserve.
1-run win for New Zealand
When England declared at 435/8 at the end of the first innings, they dismissed Kiwis for a mere 209 and imposed a follow-on on New Zealand. But Kane Williamson’s 26th test century on the penultimate day of the topsy-turvy contest gave New Zealand some hope.
With a target of 258 runs to be chased by England on the final day, it looked to be ending in a draw. Joe Root (95) and Ben Stokes (33) looked settled on the crease with the final 60 runs required to win it. But Neil Wagner and Tim Southee walked down the English lineup in a tense finale to ensure New Zealand a thrilling triumph and level the series.
By winning this contest by one run, New Zealand became only the fourth team to have won a Test match after being imposed a follow-on. The last such encounter came in 2001 when India clinched such an unlikely win against Australia in Kolkata.
The winning margin of 1-run has been cracked only for the second time in the history of Test cricket. Before this, in 1993, West Indies pulled off a similar win against Australia in Adelaide.
“It’s a pretty special Test win. The character that we’ve shown in the last three days has been very impressive and I’m proud of the guys to be able to bounce back after a tough first couple of days,” Tim Southee told reporters after the match.
“It was just a great Test match to be involved in, only four times in the history of the game, so it was a very pleasing Test to be part of,” he added.
The stunning win grabbed everyone’s attention and social media was soon flooded with praises for New Zealand.
What a finish in Wellington as Neil Wagner dismisses James Anderson to ensure New Zealand register a famous one-run victory over England 🤯#NZvENG pic.twitter.com/g0bjxVYbkH— ICC (@ICC) February 28, 2023
#BazBall effect gone wrong…!#NewZealand defeats #england by a mere margin of 1 run in a trilling #testmatch— Sportsbooz (@sportsbooz) February 28, 2023
.#BazBall #NZvENG #NZvsENG #NZLvENG #BenStokes #KaneWilliamson #TestCricket #FinalDay #HarryBrook #NZEng pic.twitter.com/FYmBnS1GIH
This was only the second test loss since coach Brendon McCullum took over and called in for the ‘BazBall’ effect. The English team will have their next five-day contest in a one-off test match against Ireland in early June. This will be followed by England hosting Australia for an arch-rival contest in Ashes.
On the other hand, New Zealand will host Sri Lanka for a two-match series next month as the Lankans still have an outside chance of reaching the World Test Championship final.