'Little bit sore' - Wagner reflects on Hagley Oval Test heroics

Tue, Mar 14

Black Caps Test bowler Neil Wagner has returned home to Papamoa Beach to start some well-deserved R-and-R for the next six weeks.

Wagner, alongside Kane Williamson, got the Black Caps over the line in another Test thriller last night to beat Sri Lanka by two wickets with the final ball of the game.

However he did so with a torn hamstring and bulging disk in his back – and it just so happened to be his 37th birthday.

The pain was nothing compared to the gift of a win though.

"Little bit sore but quite pleasing to fit it in in that sort of fashion,” Wagner told 1News.

“Worth the pain!"

Wagner had made his way out to the middle of the pitch two balls prior after a run-out dismissed Matt Henry when the Black Caps still needed five runs, although Williamson cut that to one with a slashing shot to point for four.

A bouncer then left Wagner and Williamson with a simple scenario – one run from one ball, meaning Wagner with all his ailments had to run.

"We knew that if the ball goes through that last bit we would run and give it our all and dive,” he said.

“I thought I was going to be more in trouble to get to the stumps, not Kane!"

Neil Wagner and Kane Williamson of the Black Caps celebrate beating Sri Lanka.

But Black Caps coach Gary Stead, speaking following the team’s arrival in Wellington for the second Test, said the team always had faith in Wagner.

"We always knew Neil could scamper a single if required even if on one leg,” Stead said.

Stead said they didn’t know about Wagner’s hamstring tear at the time but he’d spent two hours with the physio prior to the big moment to “prove he could get out there” and give it his all.

“It's testament of what he's like as a person and what he's prepared to do for New Zealand."

While the Black Caps will be without Wagner if another grandstand finish arises in the capital, the team still have their other Hagley Oval hero to rely on.

"He was in the zone, like he is most times,” keeper Tom Blundell said of Williamson.

“He doesn't say much when you're out there with him but he's just so locked in – you can see it in his eyes, he was going to finish it."

So can Stead and his men handle another last-ball nail-biter?

“I mean, they say a lot of things can happen on the last day of a Test match and it's happened twice in a row now,” Stead said.

“That's the beauty of Test cricket."


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