England coach Brendon McCullum hailed New Zealand's final-day hero at Wellington Neil Wagner and said that the hosts' pacer is "one of the toughest I've come across" after his bruising four-wicket haul claimed a thrilling one-run win in the second Test.
History was made in Wellington on Tuesday as New Zealand became just the fourth 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.
Lion-hearted pacer Neil Wagner (4/62) was the hero for the Kiwis as he had James Anderson caught behind down the leg side to clinch a famous victory for New Zealand at Basin Reserve.
"It's a tough game, right, and tough characters have to find a way and they do. Neil Wagner is one of the toughest that I've come across. Obviously, I had the pleasure of captaining them for a long period of time, and now playing against him, you know that he's got a huge heart and he'll find a way when the going gets tough," ESPNcricinfo quoted McCullum as saying.
"He was good today. He was better than good, he was excellent. He turned the game on its head," he added.
The hosts' hopes had looked forlorn when they were asked to follow on after being dismissed for just 209 in their first innings in reply to England's 435/8 declared, but Kane Williamson's 26th Test century on the penultimate day of a topsy-turvy contest gave New Zealand some hope.
England had to chase down 258 for victory in the fourth innings and they looked to be in control when Joe Root (95) and Ben Stokes (33) were at the crease and less than 60 runs were required.
But Wagner and Tim Southee (3/45) dug deep during a tense finale to ensure New Zealand picked up a thrilling triumph to level the two-match series at one game apiece.
New Zealand join three other teams 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. (ANI)