Following his side's one-run loss to New Zealand in the second Test, England batter Harry Brook said that he was happy to pick up the wicket of Kane Williamson in their opponent's second innings and it was a "very good game of cricket".
New Zealand scripted history in Wellington on Tuesday as they became the third team ever to win a Test match after being forced to follow on when they pulled off a thrilling one-run victory over England in a classic final-day contest in the second Test.
"Looking at the pitch on the first day, we did not think it would last that long. In the end, it was a very good cricket wicket. It was an enjoyable game to watch. I would not say I am a bowler, I am just glad that I contributed at that stage of the game and managed to get the breakthrough (Kane Williamson's wicket in the second innings). That kind of opened it up for us. The result did not go our way. Credit to New Zealand, they were fantastic. Trying to take one game at a time at the moment," said Brook in a post-match presentation.
Brook had a fantastic series in New Zealand. Across four innings in two matches, he scored 329 runs at an average of 82.25, ending up as the leading run-scorer in the series. This included a century and two half-centuries. His best score in the series was 186 in the second Test. He also picked up a wicket in the series. For his heroics, he was given the 'Man of the Series' award.
This series provides boost to his astonishing Test statistics. In six matches and 10 innings so far, he has scored 809 runs at an average of 80.90. Four centuries and three half-centuries have come out of his bat, with the best individual score of 186. His strike rate is 98.77.
Coming to the match, after being put to bat first by NZ, England made 435 at the loss of eight wickets before declaring the innings. The visitors reached a massive score after knocks from Harry Brook (186) and Joe Root (153). Stuart Broad (4/61) was the pick of the bowlers for England. James Anderson (3/37) and Jack Leach (3/80) also impressed with the ball.
In their first innings, New Zealand was bundled out for 209 runs. Skipper Tim Southee performed a brilliant rescue act, scoring 73 in 49 balls, with five fours and six sixes. He drove Kiwis out of trouble when it was struggling at 103/7.
Leach picked up a fifer, taking 5/157. Ollie Robinson, Broad, Root and Harry Brook also took a wicket each. NZ was trailing by 226 runs in the match at that point and the visitors enforced a follow-on.
In their second innings, while following on, NZ fought back their way into the match, scoring 483 runs before being bundled out. Top knocks from skipper Kane Williamson (132), wicketkeeper-batter Tom Blundell (90), Tom Latham (83), Devon Conway (61) and all-rounder Daryl Mitchell (54) guided NZ to a huge total.
NZ gained a lead of 257 runs in the match and gave a target of 258 to win to England.
England was struggling at 80/5 during their chase. From that point on, Root and skipper Stokes started building a partnership. They both put on a stand of 121 runs for the sixth wicket, taking their side beyond the 200-run mark.
However, Wagner came through with a game-changing spell. He dismissed Stokes for 33 and Root for 95 runs. Wicketkeeper-batter Ben Foakes (35) tried his level best to take his side across the finishing line, but failed as Wagner dismissed Anderson. England was dismissed for 256 runs, losing the match by just one run.
New Zealand join two other teams (India and England) to have won a Test match after being forced to follow on, with the most recent prior to this clash coming back in 2001 when India clinched an unlikely win against Australia in Kolkata.
The Kiwis' winning margin of one run is just the second time in the history of Test cricket that a match has been decided by that narrow margin, with the only other occurrence coming in 1993 when the West Indies pulled off a similar triumph over Australia in Adelaide.
The match was not part of the current World Test Championship period, with both New Zealand and England already out of contention for reaching June's final.
The loss was just England's second since Brendon McCullum took over as coach early last year, with their next five-day contest coming in a one-off Test against Ireland at the start of June.
England then embarks on a five-match series against arch-rival Australia as part of this year's Ashes series on home soil. The prestigious series will start from June 16 onwards.
New Zealand host Sri Lanka for a two-match series at home next month, with the Asian side still with an outside chance of reaching the World Test Championship final, should results fall their way. (ANI)