Brendon McCullum claims that despite being on the losing end of one of the greatest Test endings ever, his England players could not help but smile.
For the first time ever, England lost a Test game after applying the follow-on rule, as New Zealand in Wellington staged an incredible comeback.
After bowling out New Zealand for 209 and establishing a declared score of 435-8, Ben Stokes’ team had a 226-run lead. However, forcing the follow-on backfired as the hosts reached 483, eventually winning the match and series by 258 runs.
The visitors fell to 80-5 on day five, but McCullum’s team became the favorites thanks to a 121-run partnership between England skipper Ben Stokes (33) and his predecessor Joe Root (95).
James Anderson was caught down the leg side off Neil Wagner with just two needed to win, but another collapse of 3-14 offered a twist.
That was just the fourth occasion in history that a team lost after imposing the follow-on, and it put an end to Stokes and McCullum’s streak of six straight victory.
Despite the heartbreaking loss, New Zealand great McCullum claims that his English squad was appreciative to be a part of a “epic” game and pleased to add “excitement” and “relevance” to the Test match.
Naturally, winning the Test match and the series would have been good, but from the very beginning of this campaign, McCullum remarked, “We stated that we wanted to entertain and bring people into the game, add relevance to Test cricket.”
Even though we were on the other side of it today, I believe we succeeded. Although we undoubtedly contributed, New Zealand’s defense of that total was spectacular.
That was an enjoyable game to watch,
When asked to sum up the atmosphere in the locker room following the most narrow of losses, McCullum added: “The players were incredibly cool, even after we lost.”