In what will go down as one of the greatest endings of all time to the second test match in Wellington, England was defeated by New Zealand by a single run.
When England required two to win on the final day of the match at the Basin Reserve, the last player, James Anderson, was caught down the leg side off of Neil Wagner. This was an unbelievable turn of events.
After Leach had combined 36 for the ninth wicket with Ben Foakes, who was caught at fine leg for 35, Anderson joined number 10 Jack Leach with seven needed to win after Leach had contributed 36 for the ninth wicket with Ben Foakes.
When Anderson successfully evaded a hard bouncer from Wagner, the following ball was sensationally whacked for four runs.
A loud cheer came from the fans at the Basin Reserve as Wagner took his fourth wicket to leave England with 256 runs all out. Leach had survived an over bowled by Tim Southee, clearing the way for Anderson to take the field.
As England needed 258 runs to win the match and the series, they faced a disastrous collapse and fell to 80-5. When Joe Root and Ben Stokes put up 121 runs for the sixth wicket, England suffered another loss of wickets and fell to 3-14.
It was the fourth loss of its kind in England’s history, which spans over 150 years and 2,500 Test matches. Foakes, Leach, and Anderson came close to getting them over the line, but eventually, England lost a Test after enforcing the follow-on for the first time. It was the fourth loss of its kind.
It brings a stop to a run of six consecutive triumphs and prevents them from achieving a seventh straight win, which is a record that England has not accomplished since 2004.
The first win for New Zealand after following on evens up the series at 1-1 and preserves their undefeated record, which dates all the way back to 2017.
The next test match that England will play will be on June 1 against Ireland at Lord’s, and then on June 16, they will begin their campaign to win back the Ashes.
On Wednesday, a white-ball series between England and Bangladesh gets underway with a nearly totally different England lineup.
This was a magnificent climax to an unforgettable Test match, which was played out in front of a rapt audience allowed free entrance to the Basin Reserve.
Although England has stated on several occasions that they are dedicated to making test cricket more exciting, this clearly was not in the plan.
On the third morning of the match, when England’s captain Stokes ordered the follow-on, New Zealand was already 226 runs down and England was in control.
After then, New Zealand staged an incredible recovery, with Kane Williamson scoring a beautiful century as the highlight of the comeback. The Black Caps finished their match against England with a score of 483, which was the fourth-highest total recorded by a team following on.
England were favorites on a field that stayed good for batting until a chaotic collapse of four wickets for 27, the lowest point of which was when Harry Brook was bowled out without facing a ball. England started the fifth day on 48-1, and the pitch remained good for batting.
Until the pendulum swung back the other way, it appeared that Root’s counterattack and Stokes’ stoicism had recovered control of the situation. Stokes faced 116 balls throughout his 33.
When Foakes was on 12, he hooked the ball narrowly past Michael Bracewell at deep mid-wicket. At this point, New Zealand’s short-ball strategy was becoming increasingly ragged.
When Foakes eventually made a mistake, the sight of Anderson, who was 40 at the time, striding to the crease was pure theatre. The target continued to tick down, and the suspense level continued to rise.
It appeared as though he might score the winning runs for the first time in his impressive Test career; instead, England suffered just the second one-run loss in the annals of Test competition.
The preparations that England is making for the summer Ashes match will not be derailed by this loss. They have mastered their style, and they are a completely different squad from the one that had only one victory in the previous 17 tests when we were in the same position a year ago.
Because the all-rounder was frequently seen limping and bowled for a total of only two overs throughout the test, the fitness level of Stokes has emerged as the most pressing issue to emerge from this encounter.
After pushing towards the slips and taking off, Root cradled his head in his hands as the prolific Brook was finally caught, leaving him miles short of his ground. This occurred after Root had taken off.
That occurred when nightwatchman Ollie Robinson botched a pull-off Southee, Ben Duckett edged a cut-off, Matt Henry, for 33, and unsettled Ollie Pope repeated the same action off Wagner for 14.
England was in shambles, New Zealand was thriving, and the Basin Reserve was alive with activity.
But, Root began to make atonement for his role in the Brook run-out by launching a scorching assault and focusing his specific fury on Bracewell’s off-spin.
Stokes’ grim tenacity while batting while standing on one leg was a large part of what made the action so intriguing to watch.
Stokes, who had been the guy who was out slogging in the first innings, scored only one run off the first 19 balls that he faced, and then he got most of his runs by edging the ball through or over the slips.
Root’s fifty was scored at a rate of one run per ball. The captain’s contribution was only five runs over the first fifty runs that he and Stokes put together.
New Zealand’s last remaining chance appeared to lie in Wagner’s signature short-ball game plan. It was effective.
Stokes’ clumsy swipe resulted in a top edge that was caught by the square leg, and Root’s pull shot went astray, preventing him from reaching his second hundred of the match.
Stuart Broad led a Henry bouncer to third man, and England was completely taken aback by this development.
But, Foakes is unflappable, and Leach has form for match-winning partnerships, having assisted Stokes in England’s epic victory against Australia at Headingley in 2019.
Although it looked dubious that Foakes would consistently pass up opportunities to score runs, Foakes took care to ensure that Leach never faced more than two balls in a single over as the team steadily made progress towards their goal.
Foakes had the contest in his grasp but went for one hook too many, leaving Anderson to write one more chapter in his legendary career. Foakes had the match in his grasp but went for one hook too many.
Anderson was dissatisfied that a short delivery from Wagner was not declared wide, and the magnificent Wagner had the ultimate word with the following ball to leave Leach one not out after facing 31 balls.
That was so amazing that everyone felt they got their money’s worth out of it.
Ben Stokes, captain of England, had this to say about the match as a whole: “That game, in terms of what Test cricket is about, was simply magnificent.
“The feelings that we were going through upstairs, and I’m sure the New Zealander lads were going through them as well. That was a fantastic experience to take part in. Today was definitely worth it for everyone in attendance.
After such a successful winter, it’s a shame that the squad had to go out with a loss here, but they did really well by winning four of their last five games.
We will have some time off until the start of the Ashes series, after which we will hopefully be able to get back to doing what it is that we like.