England fall just short as one-run victory enables New Zealand to tie series 1-1
England became just the fourth team in Test history to lose after enforcing the follow-on, with New Zealand’s Neil Wagner dismissing last man James Anderson to seal an unforgettable one-run win in Wellington.
In a match that is sure to go down as one of the most gripping contests ever seen in the grand old format, it was England who stumbled at the line with Anderson feathering Wagner down the leg-side to leave England 256 all out chasing 258.
It was a staggering conclusion to proceedings and saw Ben Stokes’ men join the Australian classes of 1894, 1981 and 2001 as the only sides ever to suffer defeat after sending the opposition straight back in to bat.
Stokes made that decision after racking up a 226-run first innings lead, but lost control of the game as the Black Caps batted with brilliant resolve to take things deep into day five.
England looked to have the game won a couple of times, when Joe Root (95) led a 121-run partnership with Stokes and when Ben Foakes’ measured 33 took the chase to within seven runs of success. But New Zealand refused to lie down, scrapping relentlessly to take the game into the nerve-shredding denouement.
Wagner was hero with figures of four for 62, dismissing both Stokes and Root in the space of four balls, then show nerves of steel to have Anderson caught behind when one misjudgement could have cost him everything. He was also on hand with a tough catch that did for Foakes, just as the Surrey gloveman seemed to be rising above the drama.
It was just the second defeat England have experienced in 12 games under the leadership of Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum and, like almost everything they have done since taking the reins, it came in jaw-dropping fashion.
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