New Zealand complete fightback to defeat England by one run

A century stand between Joe Root and Ben Stokes rescued England from 80 for 5 and put them back on course for victory before Neil Wagner turned the game on its head


Wellington (day five of five): England 435-8d & 256, New Zealand 209 & 483 (f/o) - New Zealand won by one run

New Zealand completed a remarkable fightback in the second Test in Wellington to defeat England by one run and secure a 1-1 draw in the two-match series

In a match which went down to the wire, the lion-hearted Neil Wagner held his nerve to earn the Black Caps their first Test victory since February 2022.

The result also keeps their remarkable unbeaten record in home Test series intact - it stretches back to March 2017 - and marks just the fourth time a team gone on to win after following on.

As for England, it is just their second defeat in 12 Tests under Brendon McCullum.

Such a result looked incredibly unlikely when the hosts were reduced to 138 for 7 at the end of day two and later asked to follow-on.


Root reacts after running out Harry Brook [Phil Walter/Getty Images]


Root scored a half-century to get England back on track [Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images]

Their batters frustrated England's bowlers for the best part of two days but could only build a 258-run lead, a total Ben Stokes' side were expected to chase with ease given their penchant for scoring runs.

However, a flurry of early wickets and a late burst from Wagner either side of a century stand between Stokes and Joe Root set the stage for a dramatic finale.

England resumed on 48 for 1 on the final day, requiring 210 runs to wrap up the series win.

However, the wicket of nightwatcher Ollie Robinson – out hacking Tim Southee to Michael Bracewell at backward point in the third over of the day - opened the floodgates.

Ben Duckett, who looked in control en route to 33 (43), was the next to depart, nicking Matt Henry though to Tom Blundell, before a nervy Ollie Pope picked out a diving Tom Latham at second slip.

The following delivery, England's situation went from bad to worse, with Harry Brook run out for nought without facing a delivery. Root, who was at fault for the dismissal, could only put his hand to his head as Bracewell and Blundell combined to break the stumps: England 80 for 5, teetering on the brink of collapse and still 178 runs shy of victory.

Fortunately, Root more than made amends for his error, dispatching a six and two fours off Bracewell's opening over to put a significant dent in England's target and later brought up his half-century off 50 balls in the 32nd over. At the opposite end, Stokes – operating on one leg after jarring his left knee late in the first session – was content to let his partner take the lead.

He wasn't the only player walking wounded, with New Zealand bowler Henry leaving the field with a back injury. Fortunately, he was able to return to the attack without too much delay.

England required 90 runs to win after lunch and picked up where they'd left off, punishing Bracewell every time he missed his length – Root thwacked one particularly monstrous six deep into the stands – and steadily reduced New Zealand's lead to under 60.


Ben Foakes took England to within touching distance of victory [Phil Walter/Getty Images]


Neil Wagner had a hand in the final five wickets [Phil Walter/Getty Images]

The pressure had, however, begun to build, with Bracewell and Henry gradually stemming the flow of runs before Wagner flipped the match on its head.

He finally nailed his bouncers for the first time this series and Stokes couldn't resist, taking an ugly swing at the third ball of Wagner's spell and picking out Latham at square leg to bring an end to his 121-run stand with Root.

Nine balls later, Root departed in similar fashion, mistiming a short ball to Bracewell to depart for 95 (113): 56 runs required with three wickets in hand.

Broad briefly threatened to deny New Zealand, scoring a quickfire 11 and swinging at everything, but Wagner stepped in once again, this time holding onto a catch in the deep off Henry to halt him in his tracks.

Ben Foakes then took up scoring mantle, dispatching a flurry of boundaries to carry England to within seven runs of victory, prompting captain Southee to reintroduce himself into the attack. And it immediately paid dividends, with Foakes top-edging an attempted pull and picking out a tumbling Wagner at fine leg.

Jack Leach and James Anderson soldiered on, the former ducking and defending resolutely and the latter hacking Wagner for four to put England on the cusp of victory.

But Wagner, who had a hand in each of the final five wickets, refused to be beaten and after Leach had survived six deliveries from Southee, he once again took aim at Anderson, who gloved the second ball of the 75th over through to the safe hands of Blundell to seal a memorable win for New Zealand.

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Units 7-8, 35-37 High St, Barrow upon Soar, Loughborough, LE128PY

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