Test Wins are always sweet, but when you have an opponent against whom you have been successful only 9 times out of 102 attempts, victory creates history. On March 26th, Black Caps made Eden Park witness of 10th such Occasion in New Zealand vs England encounter in the longest format of the game.
On Monday Evening, fans tensely watching the test match anxiously prayed for another wicket as they almost thought the victory would once again dodge the Black Caps like it did five years back on the same venue when Matt Prior’s famous rearguard saved the series for England.
This time around, Ben Stokes seemed to be determined enough to take England to level at Hagley Oval, Christchurch. However, New Zealand were in no mood to let the opportunity slip again, and Neil Wagner who was breathing fire in his prolonged spell made Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes walk back to pave the way for a famous New Zealand victory. Later on, hen Todd Astle nipped out James Anderson as the last wicket to let the hosts register their 10th win in 102 attempts against England.
The fists, the shouts, the heartbeats and everything on show expressed how much it meant for the hosts.
It was a great moment for the New Zealand Cricket. Indeed they are an excellent team and a fierce opposition to beat teams like India, Australia and South Africa. However, anyone who follows their cricket knows that they have always found it hard to win against these teams at home.
Against England, they have only won one series at home way back in 1983-84 and have not won a test since March 2008. Since then, five tests resulted in either English Win or a draw. This is the reason why the win at Eden Park that gave Kiwis 1-0 lead in the series but will go down in annals of New Zealand Cricket especially the dominance they have shown throughout the test winning it by an innings and 49 runs.
There are no two thoughts that England are having some serious issues travelling abroad in last 18 months, but they have always enjoyed playing in New Zealand even in tough times. In the 1990s, they won two very comfortable series on New Zealand soil. This is why the win can’t be underestimated by England’s own dismal recent overseas record.
What was more heartening to witness was the desire from New Zealand players to win the test in spite of rain giving a golden chance to England to create a base of another great escape. The way Trent Boult bowled on the fourth night against Joe Root and later Neil Wagner gave his all on last night was enough to show how keen Kiwis were to wrap this up.
The big question now is whether Kane Williamson can inspire his troops in another New Zealand vs England standoff at Hagley Oval, Christchurch in the second test.
England will be desperate to avoid another agony to their already disastrous test summer in the southern hemisphere. The poms have quite comfortably dismantled both Australia and New Zealand in the 50 over games, but their test team has scripted a horrible tale. It seems urgent need that guardians of English cricket must sit and research what has gone wrong for country’s cricket in the 5-day format of late.
New Zealand though will surely be keen to catch this rare opportunity of a series win against England. Last time they won at home was on 15th February 1984, when none of the present New Zealand team members was even born and most of the modern fans have only witnessed either team losing or unable to hit the final nail in the coffin. This is an ideal time for Kiwis to resurrect the ghost of past and write a new chapter in footmarks of New Zealand Cricket. Will they be able to succeed or will again miss out, we will be able to come to know by next week at Christchurch.