New Zealand vs England: A final day drama in Wellington entertained the fans amidst Bazball thoery

By the time on a working Tuesday, few of the crazy cricket fans checked the scorecard of the second Test between New Zealand and England in Wellington, perhaps in a curiosity to know the winning margin of England using their old manner of BazzBall, hardly one imagined what happened on the fifth day of the Test match; there was no way England was losing, given how they have been playing in the last few months. 

It was a roller coaster of a test match to cap off an incredibly fought series between England and New Zealand- two nations which have continued to gift us cliffhangers time and again in the recent past.

©- Cricket Universe/Twitter

Bazball- A new trend of going after the bowlers irrespective of the color of the ball: 

Ever since the appointment of Brendon McCullum as coach and Ben Stokes as captain for the English red ball team, the group has witnessed unprecedented highs with some aggressive, positive and entertaining cricket; Bazball- something which seemed to redefine Test Cricket.

They won 9 out of 10 games and 3 series victories with this refreshing approach and there was simply no reason why they should have backed out from it. And at some extent, there was not a single fan around the globe who wasn't happy looking at this new England side- no matter which country they are supporting. 

The first Test against the Kiwis at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui was no different when the English team once again played some fearless cricket, accompanied by some pretty bold decisions and some fantastic swing bowling with the pink cherry, under lights, particularly by the two veterans in Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, with the former looking to break Shane Warne’s imperious tally of 708 wickets with each passing game. Meanwhile, Anderson and Broad also became the highest wicket taking pair with 1009 Test wickets in Test cricket, surpassing the tally of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath (1001 Test scalps). 

New Zealand came back from behind in Wellington: 

It all started with the Kiwi pacers making hay on a lush green track with enough purchase off the surface as England found themselves reeling at 25/3. But as has been the case pretty often in the Stokes-McCullum era, England found a way to crawl back into the game and thereafter dominate the proceedings as the young Turk Harry Brook hit a career best 186 off just 176 balls with the senior pro Joe Root scoring a 153 as England eventually declared at 435/8.


That was some knock from the young guy, considering the situation he arrived at and it once again proved how the English team focused on staying positive, unfazed by the situation and believing in their own game more than anything else. Joe Root also put an end to his century drought for nearly eight months and thereby pushing his average past that sought-after 50 mark in the process.

In reply, NZ had a tough time out at the crease as England had them at 103/7 at one stage, staring down the barrel at a certain innings defeat until the skipper Tim Southee decided to swing his arms and have some real fun out there with a breezy 73 which included 6 maximums and one which took him past quite a few big names in the list of most 6s in Test Cricket. The duo of Anderson and Broad once again was the standout pair with 7 wickets to their name.

England readily imposed the follow on with a 226 run lead but the Kiwis this time had a far better outing as all of Conway, Latham, Mitchell and Blundell struck 50+ scores with the ex skipper Kane Williamson scoring an elegant 100 and solidifying his team's chances to stage a comeback. The opening duo stitched a 149 runs partnership which was backed up by a counter attacking 50 from Daryl Mitchell and yet another 90 from Tom Blundell, who had turned out to be one of New Zealand’s most reliable players in the longest format in the last one year. However, England picked up the last 5 wickets in a hurry with Leach getting a fifer to his name as NZ set a target of 258 for England to win the series. 

Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett yet again started off on a positive note in the last session of Day 4, pretty much reflecting their Bazball ideologies until a jaffa from Tim Southee got Crawley's off stump uprooted. But still stumps on the fourth day, England looked to be the favorites with a bit more than 200 required with 9 wickets in hand on a track that looked pretty decent for batting. 

The final day drama no one imagined: 

England arrived to the crease with a lot of hopes as Ben Duckett and the nightwatchman Ollie Robinson took strike-but England had the worst possible start as they lost wickets at regular intervals and the final blow was when the inform Harry Brook got out for a platinum duck, courtesy a run-out caused by misunderstanding between him and Root. England were 80/5 and it looked like a 100 run defeat was well and truly on the cards-but for the umpteenth time in this Bazball era, England found out a way to reverse the pressure back on to their opponents.

Ben Stokes and Joe Root put on a solid partnership of 121 runs with the latter being particularly aggressive against the off spinner Bracewell as England once again seemed to make mockery of a chase. Stokes for a change, seemed to deviate from the Bazball ideology, as he played a pretty old-school test knock, scoring 33 off 116 balls, playing second-fiddle to Joe Root, who on the other looked to be in sumptuous touch, well and truly on course for another hundred. 


But things soon changed as Neil Wagner returned for an inspirational and game-changing spell, in which he got rid of both the set batsmen, Stokes and Root, in quick succession, sending down a flurry of short pitched deliveries and forcing the batters to top-edge. Soon, Matt Henry picked up the wicket of the ‘NightHawk’ Stuart Broad as England became eight down with still 43 needed. Foakes got some valuable runs with some eye-catchy strokes as the target came down to 7 when Southee got rid of Foakes with yet another short ball. Anderson brought it down to 2 with a well timed boundary and finally it was 2 needed with Anderson and Leach at the crease, while the Kiwis needed one wicket to create history. 

Neil Wagner bowled one head-high bouncer with 2 needed but fortunately for the Kiwis, it wasn’t called a wide. The very next delivery Neil Wagner dismissed Anderson with the faintest of tickles down the legside and a sharp reflex catch from Blundell as Anderson stood there with a perplexed face, still unable to perceive the situation as Neil Wagner seemed to be on cloud nine shouting on the top of his voice as his teammates just rushed out to hug and applaud him. It was one of the poorest balls bowled by Wagner on a day when he pushed his nation to victory with some aggressive spell but it just wasn't meant to be for England that day as New Zealand finally managed to win a close contest against the nation which had given them some tough memories from that fateful night of July 2019 at the Lords. 

It was the first time ever in the history of Test Cricket that a team won by just a run after being imposed a follow on and all the players would have definitely felt proud to have been a part of it, irrespective of which side of the coin they eventually landed upon. Overall, it was a great exhibition of Test cricket, one which will definitely inspire a significant proportion of the younger generation to watch the longest and the purest format of the game- one that’s going to be etched in the history books for years.


0/Post a Comment/Comments