New Zealand beat England in a dramatic thriller of a test match by one run here at Basin Reserve. Neil Wagner’s short ball assault in the afternoon session paved the way for a dramatic comeback for the home side. They managed to hold on to their nerves in the crunch situation and secured a historic win by the narrowest of margins.
New Zealand became the only fourth team ever in the history of 2494 Tests and 146 years of Test cricket to win the test match after being asked to follow on.
New Zealand Started the final Day with four wickets in the morning session. They reduced England to 80-5 while chasing a challenging 258 runs on the final day. Southee removed Robinson in the third over of the day. Soon Ben Duckett edged one to Blundell off Matt Henry’s delivery. New Zealand got the start they wanted with two wickets early in the day. Ollie Pope comes to the crease to join Root. Both looked to play their shots & keep the scoreboard ticking.
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Neil Wagner’s Short Ball Assault Bounces England out
As this partnership started to settle, Neil Wagner removed Pope in his very first over of this innings. Short ball tactic worked for him as Pope couldn’t get on top of the bounce and ended up guiding the ball straight to second slip. First inning Centurian Harry Brook fell very next ball in a bizarre runout without even facing a single ball.
But then skipper Ben Stokes and Joe Root steadied the innings. After absorbing initial pressure, they both looked for scoring opportunities. They reduced the English innings to 168 for 5 at the lunch break. With an equation of 80 runs and 5 wickets, the test match was poised for a nail-biting finish.
England started the second session very steadily. They took the scoring opportunities
came their way. But the 56th over from the Wagner turned the match around for NZ. Wagner’s short ball finally worked against English captain. Stokes, who was struggling with left knee, couldn’t control his pull shot and gave a simple catch to square leg. But the real turning point came in the very next over of Wagner, Root (95), nearing his century, had a brain fade moment as he tried to hammer the short ball, and gave it straight to the mid-wicket.
With two new Batsman at the crease and still 56 runs to win, It was now New Zealand’s game to lose. Broad couldn’t survive much longer against short ball assault from kiwi bowlers. Jack Leach then joined Ben Foakes in the middle. He showed great temperament to perform in such crunch situation. He hold the one end tight while Foakes kept the scoreboard ticking. Foakes also got the lifeline, Bracewell misjudged the catch at square leg.
Duo of Foakes & Leach brought the target down to less than 10 runs, game was done & dusted for NZ before the final twist in the match came in 71st over. Foakes tried to pull the good short ball of Southee, he only managed to top edge it; Wagner took an excellent under-pressure catch. Jimmy Anderson came at no:11, he even smashed one to the boundary bringing the target down to 2 runs.
Southee then bowled an excellent maiden over to Leach & kept Anderson on strike for next over. Then game changer of the second innings, Neil Wagner, bowled another short one to Anderson, the ball was sliding down the leg, but he managed to nick it, and Blundell took care of the rest. New Zealand sealed a historic victory by the barest of margins.
New Zealand have managed to draw the series with the win at basin reserve. They have also kept their unbeaten streak at home since 2017.
New Zealand 209 (Southee 73, Broad 4-61, Anderson 3-37) and 483 (Williamson 132, Blundell 90, Latham 81, Leach 5-157) beat England 435 for 8 dec (Brook 186, Root 153*, Henry 4-100) and 256 (Root 95, Wagner 4-62, Southee 3-45) by one run.