Wagner five-for seals innings win for New Zealand

Neil Wagner backed up BJ Watling’s masterclass and an all-round Mitchell Santner to seal victory by an innings and 65 runs for New Zealand against England in the first Test at Mount Maunganui.

England were bowled out for 197 in the second innings on Monday, 25 November, as Wagner picked up his seventh five-wicket haul in Tests, dismissing Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad in back-to-back deliveries.

With only two wickets in hand, the visitors fought hard in the final session to delay the inevitable as Archer (30) along with Sam Curran (29*) put on a half-century partnership for the ninth wicket. However, reintroduced into the attack, Wagner broke the 59-run stand by bowling short to Archer, who top-edged the pull to fine leg. He then trapped Broad plumb in front to complete the formalities.

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England, who began the final day trailing by 207 runs with seven wickets in hand, had a tall ask. With that in mind, Joe Root and Joe Denly began in a slow fashion, focusing on keeping wickets in hand. The first few overs were uneventful; however, Colin de Grandhomme’s introduction changed the equation as both batsmen struggled with his lack of pace. Grandhomme finally undid Root with a sharp short ball, the extra bounce taking the England captain by surprise as he played it into the hands of Tom Latham at gully. 

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Ben Stokes defended steadily and along with Denly ensured that the visitors completed the first session without further damage. 

New Zealand regrouped to attack with more purpose in the second session. Tim Southee, with the old ball, invited edges from Stokes; unfortunately for the hosts, they failed to carry. And with Stokes and Denly holding fort, it looked like England were in with a chance. However, Stokes’ dismissal in the 69th over opened the floodgates for New Zealand to run through.

Watling became the first NZ wicket-keeper to score a Test double ton
Watling became the first NZ wicket-keeper to score a Test double ton

Chasing a wide delivery off Southee, Stokes went for a cut, but the ball kept low, took the inside edge of his bat and deflected onto the leg bail. Wagner then decimated the lower-middle order, picking up the next three wickets for 17 runs.

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Earlier in the match, England, who had opted to bat first, posted 353 in the first innings on the back of half-centuries from Rory Burns, Denly and Stokes. On a slow wicket, they countered New Zealand’s disciplined attack with sensible batting. They then reduced the hosts to 144/4 on the second day to gain a significant advantage.

However, New Zealand’s dominance over the next three days was so complete, England failed to find an opening. Their 615/9d in their first and only innings was headlined by the record seventh-wicket partnership between Watling and Santner. Watling became the first New Zealand wicket-keeper to score a Test double ton and Santner completed his maiden Test hundred. New Zealand gained a huge lead of 262 and took firm control of the match when Santner’s triple-strike left the visitors reeling on 55/3 at the end of the fourth day.