[Source: NZ Cricket/Twitter]
Neil Wagner took four wickets and held two crucial catches as New Zealand pulled off a ‘Mission Improbable’ by beating England by one run in the second test on a nerve-jangling day five after being made to follow on.
It was only the fourth win in the history of test cricket by a team asked to follow on, and the second time a team had won a test by a single run after West Indies beat Australia by the margin in Adelaide in 1993.
Having set England 258 to win, New Zealand’s hopes had faded as Joe Root (95) and Ben Stokes (33) produced a 121-run stand to cut the deficit to 57 runs with five wickets in hand on a sunny Tuesday afternoon at the Basin Reserve.
Enter Wagner, who had both out slogging then nervelessly held catches in the deep to help remove Stuart Broad (11) and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes for 35.
Incredible scenes at the Basin Reserve. A thrilling end to the 2nd Test in Wellington 🏏 #NZvENG pic.twitter.com/tyG7laNtdP
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) February 28, 2023
Foakes’s wicket left tailenders Jack Leach and James Anderson needing seven runs for victory, and Anderson smacked a boundary off Wagner to trim the margin to two runs.
Wagner came again and had Anderson caught down the leg side for four to trigger jubilation among the New Zealand players and fans.
“It’s a special one this and we’ll celebrate it well,” said Wagner, who finished with 4-62 in the fourth innings.
“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.”