Neil Wagner Strikes Gold in Famous Win
“New Zealand became the fourth team in the game’s history to win after being asked to follow-on. They beat England by a single run, making them only the second to win by what is literally the barest margin you can get in this format, thanks to a man who just last week had been flayed so harshly you wondered if his time was up,” Vithushan Ehantharajah writes for ESPNcricinfo after New Zealand beat England on day five in the second Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
“When Neil Wagner finally calls it quits, he should donate his body to science so they can figure out how a human being can spend 17 years contorting and unravelling his torso for bouncer after bouncer and still, at 36, do it just enough to drag his team to such a famous win,” Ehantharajah writes.
“Just as [Brendon] McCullum said he knew [Tim] Southee would ensure New Zealand always push for victory, Southee knew McCullum and [Ben] Stokes would ask them to follow-on and then go hell-for-leather on the final day in pursuit of any chase big or small.
“Here we are, then. An unspoken promise between a bond forged by this ludicrous sport has resulted in one of the best days it has produced. It will give New Zealand hope of brighter days to come, and England reassurance their ethos of playing for the people rather than themselves can nourish them even in defeat.”
Original article by Vithushan Ehantharajah, ESPNcricinfo, February 28, 2023.