It has taken 34 years and 46 days for New Zealand to repeat a test series win against England on home soil. The series will go down as a milestone in the history of New Zealand Cricket and defines one of the finest bunch of cricketers that have ever represented the country.
February 15, 1984, Eden Park, Auckland, on a lifeless pitch, New Zealand held out on a draw to win the first ever series win against England. It took them 54 years to do so and considering they were not expected to beat England, English media labelled this as one of the darkest summers of English Cricket. 34 years later on April 3, 2018, at Hagley Oval, Christchurch, New Zealand’s 8th wicket pair played out almost 32 overs to save a thrilling test and lead their country to a series win, only the second time on New Zealand soil and fourth overall.
The win will be remembered as a milestone in New Zealand cricket as this was the only instance barring that 1983-84 series win that New Zealand have defeated the English in their backyard. The gap have been such so vast that it can be understood by the fact that none of the New Zealand players was even born at that time. This makes the series victory even sweeter and a marker in New Zealand Cricket.
Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Ross Taylor are the core group who could be involved as among the best While BJ Watling may end up as New Zealand’s finest ever wicketkeeper-batsman. In Colin De Grandhomme and Neil Wagner, they have a very strong supporting cast which makes this team a strong unit. In recent times they have created quite a history, defeating Pakistan in 2016 for the first time since 1984-85. However, a win against England could be remarked as extra special as New Zealand has historically always struggled to win series against them. This is also their first series win since 1999 when Stephan Fleming and his troops stunned whole England, winning the 4 test series 2-1.
While there were many many vital moments during the series but late heroics by Tom Latham, Colin De Grandhomme, and Ish Sodhi and Neil Wagner proved enough for English bowlers. At the end, when the umpires stopped the match for darkness, the lights were on in the pavilion, and New Zealand had clinched their second ever test series win over England at home. The match was a replica of 1994’s Lords test when New Zealand missed the bus due to bad lights and tailenders grit and resolve.
The home season which saw them demolish first West Indies and then Pakistan, also saw them losing 4 games in T-20 tri-series after stumbling to reach to final where they lost in the one-sided affair. After losing one-day series 3-2, It was important to bounce back against England in test series, the series which has defined the season of 2017-18 for them. As of now, they sit at no 3 in ranks, and that will be very satisfying for the team and fans.
The Test series win and the day 3rd April 2018, will go down as the marker in the history of New Zealand cricket for the moments like this have been rare but the 1-0 win in 2 Test series promises that there are many more days like the one in Christchurch which will be witnessed in future.