New Zealand concluded a dramatic fightback on the last day to beat England by 1 run Tuesday and become only the fourth team in history to win a cricket test after being forced to follow-on. With James Anderson and Jack Leach batting, England needed just two runs but New Zealand’s Neil Wagner had other plans and he got Anderson out. Caught behind by Blundell. Just a faint tickle off the bat down the leg and the keeper dived to his left to take it.

NZ win by the barest of margins. The margin of victory is 1 run. They have snatched a win out of nowhere. England twice and India once are the only other teams to have to own a test after having to follow-on. The last occasion was in 2001 when India beat Australia by 171 runs at Eden Gardens. Wagner said “A wonderful achievement such as this will be celebrated. It is something we are extremely proud of.”

Most struggling batters against Wagner

Data contains only top-order SENA batters

The above chart is called a Lollipop chart. It is a composite chart with bars and circles. It is a variant of the bar chart with a circle at the end, to highlight the data value. Like a bar chart, a lollipop chart is used to compare categorical data. The chart indicates that O Pope and J Root are the top 2 batters who struggle a lot against Wagner, as they got dismissed five times each since 2018. The Aussies’ major top-order batters, S Smith and D Warner, also struggle because Wagner picked them four times each.

However, he was attacked by Australian M Labuschagne and English batters like H Brook, R Burns, and J Bairstow in terms of costly runs. Marnus smashed seven fours to Wagner with a high out rate of 102 balls. H Brook and O Pope hit three sixes against Wagner at an extremely low dot percentage of 55.4 and 66.5, respectively. Thus, due to his back-of-length and short-pitched deliveries, the batter heads for a big shot off the backfoot quite smoothly.

Minimum 150 balls bowled, X-axis: Strike Rate, Y-axis: Wickets

Neil Wagner is in the ultimate quadrant of the chart because he picks wickets every 42.55 deliveries and took 22 wickets since 2022 in Test cricket. Following him are M Henry and T Bolt, who are a bit closer to the finer quadrant of the chart with 22 and 16 wickets respectively. T. Southee is the leading bowler, having picked up 24 wickets, but his strike rate (70.67) is too elevated compared to others. K Jamieson and M Bracewell are the essential all-rounders for the Kiwi Test side, who maintain sabotaging the destructive partnerships of their opponents.

Wagner has the ability to bowl all the bouncers that end between the batter’s shoulder and the top of his peak, or in his armpits. We don’t think anyone in the world has bowled bouncers the way he has and been so consistent, not getting scored off while also picking up wickets. Due to this, he lies in the best quadrant of the chart, and he absolutely deserves it.


Watching Neil Wagner bowl is one of the most visceral cricket experiences out there. He spews his guts out, drags us with him into the heat of the battle, and makes us feel his pain, his effort, his ceaseless energy, his undying passion—it can all get a bit gut-wrenching at times. No other pitcher throws as many bouncers as he does. No one is as accurate as him. It all began with Allan Donald.