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Four instances in Test cricket when teams won after following-on

New Zealand beat England by one run in the second Test, in Wellington

nz-england-afp New Zealand's Neil Wagner (C) celebrates taking the final wicket of England's James Anderson (centre L) to win the second Test match, in Wellington | AFP

It was the fifth and final day of the second Test between England and New Zealand in Wellington. The visitors seemed to headed for an easy win, at 201/5 with just 56 more runs to get. Joe Root (95) and Ben Stokes (33), who were involved in a 121-run partnership, were at the crease.

But left-arm pacer Neil Wagner had other ideas. In the space of one run, he dismissed both the set batters, to expose the English tail. He ended up with figures of 4/62, which included the last wicket of James Anderson, and two catches. New Zealand won the thriller by one run.

It was the fourth instance of a team going on to win a Test match after following-on. England twice and India once are the only other teams to have won a Test after having to follow-on. The last occasion was in 2001 when India beat Australia by 171 runs at Eden Gardens.

For the second time in the series, Stokes made an assertive first innings declaration with England 435/9. England then bowled out New Zealand for only 209 to take a 226-run first innings lead. Stokes chose to enforce the follow-on with his attack having bowled 53.2 overs and the second innings became an ordeal as Kane Williamson made 132 and New Zealand batted more than 160 overs to post 483, setting England 257 to win.

Other narrow victory margins

  • England defeated Australia by two runs in Birmingham in August 2005

  • Australia defeated England by three runs in Manchester in July 1902

  • England defeated Australia by three runs in Melbourne in December 1982

  • West Indies defeated Australia by one run in Adelaide in January 1993

  • South Africa defeated Australia by five runs in Sydney in January 1994

  • New Zealand defeated Pakistan by four runs in Abu Dhabi in November 2018

Here's a look at the other three instances of a team going on to win a Test match after following-on:


Australia vs England - Sydney, 1894

In the Ashes series, the Aussies scored 586 in the first innings, thanks to Syd Gregory's 201. They then bowled England out for 325, and chose to enforce the follow-on. However, England, led by Albert Ward's 117, posted 437 in the second innings.

Chasing 177, Australia were cruising at 130/2, before six-wicket hero Bobby Peel dismissed wicketkeeper-batter Jack Blackham to hand England a famous 10-run win.


Australia vs England - Leeds, 1981

It was yet another Ashes match. Australia declared on 401/9, and bowled out England for 174. The Aussies enforced the follow-on. At 135/7, the hosts were staring down the barrel, before Ian Botham played a counter-attacking innings of 149* off 148 deliveries. The legendary all-rounder had also scored a half-century in the first innings and picked up six wickets, too. England ended their second innings on 356. Bob Willis then ripped through the Aussie batting lineup with a 8-wicket haul, giving away only 43 runs. Chasing 130, the Aussies fell short by 18 runs.


India vs Australia - Kolkata, 2001

It has to be one of the best Test matches in the history of the game. Australia were on a 16-match unbeaten run, and were on course to stretch it to 17 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. India, who were trailing 0-1 in the three-match series, were forced to follow-on in the second innings, having scored just 171 in response to Australia's 445. But Aussies' plan hit a 'Wall'. Rahul Dravid (180) and VVS Laxman (281) put on a batting display of a lifetime to take India to 657/7 decl. They thwarted the likes of Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasprowicz for a whole day. Chasing an improbable 384 on the last day, Australia were undone by a young and wily Harbhajan Singh (6/73) and Sachin Tendulkar, who chipped in with three wickets. India completed a stunning 171-run victory, and went on to win the final Test in Chennai, to take the series 2-1.


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