New Zealand seal historic victory over England in Wellington

England lost one of the most incredible Tests of all time in painful fashion on Tuesday morning when Jimmy Anderson was dismissed with just two runs needed for victory.

In incredible scenes in the Basin Reserve’s final duo, Anderson and Jack Leach took England to the cusp of a success that would have been as extraordinary as the one won by Ben Stokes and Jack Leach for England at Headingley four years ago.

But with two needed, Anderson, who hit a four in Neil Wagner’s previous over, got the lightest of tickles on his left arm’s leg in the sure hands of Tom Blundell to give New Zealand victory, to coin a phrase, at least naked from the shores.

There was also controversy because Wagner’s earlier ball came dangerously close to being called aside, but umpires Chris Gaffaney and Rod Tucker gave him the benefit of the mere hint of doubt.

Only once in Test history has a team won a Test by a run before and this was only the fourth time a side had won in Test cricket after going on. It was also the first time England had lost after asking someone to move on.

New Zealand celebrate the moment of victory when James Anderson is caught in the side of the leg

Joe Root drops his bat in disgust after kicking Neil Wagner to fall less than a century

Joe Root drops his bat in disgust after kicking Neil Wagner to fall less than a century

Ben Stokes drags after getting caught in Wagner's bowling too

Ben Stokes drags after getting caught in Wagner’s bowling too

It’s very disappointing for England but when the dust settles they will know they played an important part in a remarkable game, in line with their stated aim of trying to make Test cricket as fun as possible.

That certainly was it. After five days of convincing comebacks, England’s bottom pair needed to score seven runs to give England a 2–0 series win and their seventh consecutive Test win, their best run for nearly 20 years.

It looked like they would when Anderson crushed Wagner at the edge, but with the 40-year-old ready to score the winning runs in a Test match for the first time, Wagner and New Zealand, often the bridesmaids, had their say Final.

England will kick themselves for failing to take five wins from five Tests abroad this winter and seal their seventh consecutive win after Joe Root and Stokes put them within sight of the finish line with a partnership of 121.

The England captain and his predecessor joined England in turmoil, having lost four wickets in a nightmare opening hour on the final day, culminating in Harry Brook being bowled out by Root without even facing a ball.

Root kept his head in his head after that moment of madness, but he batted so well as he brought England to 57 runs of victory with Stokes that English nerves began to wear thin and it looked certain that England would complete another extraordinary victory.

But then Stokes, who was clearly struggling with his chronic left knee injury, aimed an ugly one-handed blow at Neil Wagner and was caught mid-wicket to undo all the good work and discipline he had shown in providing the perfect support for Source.

England were still favourites, while Root, batting sublimely again after his unbeaten 153 in the first innings, was at the line, but he also lost his wicket on 95 trying to haul a ball from Wagner that was not short enough and bowling to the half-wicket.

Stuart Broad’s attempt to crush England to victory ended quickly, but Ben Foakes was exceptional as he ran the tail with Leach in scenes reminiscent of the famous contest between Stokes and Leach against Australia at Headingley four years ago.

Foakes made 35 to take England within seven of their target, but he too went down trying to pull the ball short from Southee.

A moment of horror saw Harry Brook run off without facing a ball after an ill-advised call from Root

A moment of horror saw Harry Brook run off without facing a ball after an ill-advised call from Root

Ollie Pope was picked up by Tom Latham after an unconvincing 14 stay at Wellington

Ollie Pope was picked up by Tom Latham after an unconvincing 14 stay at Wellington

At the start England, who have managed a breathtaking six runs since Stokes joined Brendon McCullum at the start of last summer, looked unusually unsure and indecisive in their quest to 258 points for victory.

They had lost Zak Crawley during the night and night watchman Ollie Robinson quickly followed. Ben Duckett then went down trying to cut Matt Henry and falling behind and Ollie Pope was very frantic before becoming the first wicket to fall to Wagner.

When Root bowled Tim Southee into the ravine and set off for an improbable single, Michael Bracewell running from the ravine to easily bowl out England cricket’s new superstar, England contributed enormously to their own downfall.

It looked as if they would hold their own as long as Root and Stokes were together, but they suffered only their second defeat in their remarkable transformation last year as New Zealand not only scored an incredible victory but extended their unbeaten home run in Test cricket for 11 series.

England, meanwhile, still haven’t won a series here since 2008, but they won’t shy away in their quest to not only play winning cricket but also an entertaining brand that will help save the endangered old format.

There will be those who criticize Stokes for giving New Zealand a chance when he got them through, but it’s still exceptionally rare for a team to win that way – the last time this happened was in Kolkata in 2001, when Australia lost to India – and the England captain insists he will always choose the attacking option.

Attention will now turn to the state of Stokes’ left knee ahead of the Ashes this summer and whether he will be fit enough to fulfill his £1.6m IPL contract with Chennai. But the memory of one of the most incredible Trials in history will last a long time for those who saw it.

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