NZ vs ENG: New Zealand halt Bazball juggernaut by barest of margins

The second Test between hosts New Zealand and England ended with a dramatic finish as the hosts managed to hold their nerves in a cliffhanger to claim a one-run victory on Tuesday, February 28 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. The victory has allowed them to finish the series on level terms 1-1.

England resumed with their overnight score of 48 for the loss of one wicket (Zak Crawley) and needed 210 runs to whitewash the home side 2-0. But they immediately suffered a setback when nightwatchman Ollie Robinson got out to skipper Tim Southee with just five runs added to England’s overnight score.

Robinson’s dismissal also led to three quick dismissals that happened in no time as Ben Duckett (33),  Ollie Pope (14) and an in-form Harry Brook (0) perished one after the other reducing England from 53/2 to 80/5 and it all happened under ten overs. 258 started looking like a far-fetched dream for the visitors but just then their skipper Ben Stokes (33) stitched a valuable 121-run stand with Joe Root (95) and put them on the cusp of a historic series finish.

A thrilling historic finish

Just when England were within touching distance of a remarkable victory pacer Neil Wagner brought the home side back into the contest as he got rid of the England skipper in the 57th over. Stoke’s dismissal put the cat among the pigeons as the Three Lions slumped further in no time and got bundled out for 256 leaving them tantalisingly close to a near-perfect finish.

Joe Root’s dismissal after Stokes perished turned out to be a massive turning point in the game as it was Wagner again who provided the Tim Southee-led side with the much-needed breakthrough. The defeat is only the second loss that Stokes has endured after taking over the Test captaincy.