Wagner leads New Zealand to remarkable one-run Test victory over England

By Sports Desk February 27, 2023

Neil Wagner claimed four wickets including the final scalp of James Anderson as New Zealand edged England by one run in a thrilling second Test in Wellington to earn a 1-1 series draw on Tuesday.

With the game on a knife's edge, Anderson tickled a leg-side Wagner delivery through to wicketkeeper Tom Blundell to clinch the victory, with England bowled out for 256 chasing 258 for victory.

Ben Foakes seemed destined to guide England to the win after taking the lead role after slumping to 215-8 but was caught by final-day hero Wagner at fine leg off Tim Southee for 35, leaving tail-enders Anderson and Jack Leach to finish the job.

They could not, with Wagner taking the final scalp to cap his 4-62 performance after Anderson had belted a boundary through midwicket to close within two runs of victory.

New Zealand became the fourth team in Test history to win a Test after being forced to follow on, with Player of the Match Kane Williamson's second-innings century helping them back into the contest. The Black Caps win preserves their unbeaten home Test series record dating back to 2017.

England had resumed on the final day at 48-1, but were five down by drinks in the first session as the Black Caps took control. Joe Root inexplicably ran out first-inning centurion Harry Brook for a diamond duck amid the madness.

Root and Ben Stokes responded with a 121-run sixth-wicket partnership where the former skipper led the way with an aggressive 95 that included eight fours and three sixes. But Stokes and Root both fell within two overs, both to Wagner.

Stuart Broad's brief cameo ended on 11 caught by Wagner at third man off Matt Henry to put New Zealand in the box seat, with England needing 43 more runs with two wickets in hand before Foakes expertly farmed the strike, only to fall short.

Black Caps claim rare follow-on win

New Zealand were looking to become only the fourth side in Test history to win a game after being forced to follow on and achieved the feat by the narrowest margin possible. The last side to manage that was India against Australia in Kolkata in March 2001.

Wagner's final-day heroics

Left-arm fast bowler Wagner was at his tireless best on the fifth day, including taking two key catches in the field for the wickets of Broad and Foakes.

Wagner broke the crucial stand of Stokes and Root too, with the all-rounder's one-handed swat from a short delivery looping up to Tom Latham at square leg. Root fell to Wagner with a premeditated shot straight up to Michael Bracewell at midwicket in his next over.

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