England slumped to 80-5 chasing 258 for victory on the final day at Wellington’s Basin Reserve, but a sixth-wicket stand of 121 between Joe Root and Ben Stokes got them back on track; Neil Wagner’s 4-62 proved pivotal for New Zealand as they secured an historic win
New Zealand became only the fourth team in Test history to win a match after being made to follow on as they snatched a dramatic one-run win over England on the final day of the second Test in Wellington.
Resuming with 210 runs still needed to reach the victory target of 258, the tourists were left in disarray after being reduced to 80-5 on the back of losing four quick wickets inside the first 10 overs of the day at Basin Reserve
Joe Root and Ben Stokes came together to put on a sixth-wicket stand of 121 which got the chase back on track, but they both fell in the afternoon session soon after each other to leave the tourists seven down with 56 still required.
Story of the day
Anyone expecting England to ‘Bazball’ their way to victory on the morning of the final day of this Test was given an early jolt, starting when night-watchman Ollie Robinson departed for two in the third over after the resumption of play, top-edging Tim Southee to Michael Bracewell.
Opener Ben Duckett followed him back to the pavilion for 33 four overs later as he tried to clip the New Zealand captain through the off-side but instead got an edge which was snaffled by wicketkeeper Tom Blundell.
Then a calamitous over which saw Ollie Pope removed for just four by change bowler Wagner, edging the left-arm seamer to Tom Latham in the slips, and new man in Harry Brook – who had top-scored for England in the first innings with 186 and was named player of the series – run out without facing a ball when Root went for a single which was never on left England stumbling.
However, the former England captain set about making amends for that alongside his successor Stokes, bring up his 57th Test half-century and seeing the tourists through to lunch with 90 required for victory when play resumed in the afternoon.
That seemed to have slightly swung the match back in England’s favour. But Stokes, who had been struggling for mobility with a knee injury, played an awkward pull off Wagner in the 57th over which resulted in him being caught for 33 by Tom Latham.
Root then fell to the left-armer for 95 which had included eight fours and three sixes two overs later as he tried to pull, only to end up being caught by Bracewell at midwicket, which left wicketkeeper Ben Foakes as the sole recognised batsman to see England home.
Foakes held his nerve after Stuart Broad’s cameo 11 off nine balls ended with him being caught by Wagner off Matt Henry, with the right-hander and Jack Leach taking a more obdurate approach to the chase and began slowly ticking off the runs with two wickets in hand.
His 35 from 57 balls got England to within seven runs of their victory target, but his attempt at pulling a bouncer from Black Caps captain Southee ended up with him being caught in the deep by Wagner to ensure a tense finish to the contest.
The world’s No 1-ranked Test bowler Anderson almost wrote his name into history with the bat when he smacked a four off Wagner to take England to within two runs of victory, but two overs later he got the slightest of touches on one from the seamer which carried through to wicketkeeper Blundell, sealing an improbable victory for New Zealand.
The result ensured the series finished level after England triumphed in the opening match of the series, and meant the Black Caps avoided a first home series loss to the tourists since 2008. It was only the second loss England have suffered since captain Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum took charge of the red-ball team as well.
What they said
England captain Ben Stokes, speaking to BT Sport
“Going down to the last day, being in that situation in the last half-hour, it’s everything you wish for – and even though we came out on the wrong side of it you can’t help but feel blessed we’ve managed to be part of an incredible game like that.
“It’s disappointing to not win, obviously, but you look at the bigger picture about what everyone has enjoyed and seen here, it’s probably bigger than any disappointment at the moment.
“It was always our game to lose once we enforced the follow-on and the logic behind it was our opening bowlers had ripped through their top order three innings in a row, and New Zealand had to pretty much play the perfect game to put us in a situation like this. Chasing 250 in the last innings is something we’d never worry about, but you’ve got to give credit to New Zealand.”
New Zealand beat England by one run – match summary
England: 435-8 dec (Brook 186, Root 153no; Southee 5-24), 256 (Root 95; Wagner 4-62).
New Zealand: (f/o) 209 (Southee 73; Broad 4-61), 483 (Williamson 132, Blundell 90, Latham 81, Conway 61, Mitchell 54; Leach 5-157).
New Zealand bowler Neil Wagner
“It’s a special one this and we’ll celebrate it well.
“It’s an amazing achievement and obviously everybody contributed, so hats off to everyone. That’s what this team’s about, just keep playing.
“That’s just the characteristic of this team, we keep loving to fight for each other.”
England’s white-ball team are currently in Bangladesh for a tour which comprises three one-day internationals and three T20 internationals, and starts on March 1. England’s next Test match is against Ireland at Lord’s, starting on Thursday, June 1.