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Ben Stokes: 'England lost to New Zealand, but Test cricket won'

Stokes: 'England lost, but Test cricket won'
© Reuters
Ben Stokes suggests that Test cricket was the winner as England dramatically lost by one run in the second of their two-match series in Wellington.

Ben Stokes talked up the importance of Test cricket as a spectacle as England dramatically lost to New Zealand by one run in the second of a two-match series.

In a thrilling conclusion in Wellington, James Anderson nicked the ball down the leg-side and through to wicket-keeper Tom Blundell off the bowling of Neil Wagner, sparking scenes of ecstasy and despair depending on your nationality.

England had been in control for large portions of the Test match, establishing a 226-run lead at the midway point and subsequently enforcing the follow-on.

However, in turning the tide and recording a victory by the smallest of margins, New Zealand became just the fourth side to prevail after being asked to bat twice in succession.

As a result, New Zealand levelled the series, which ends 1-1, and Stokes lost for just the second time in 12 Tests as England captain.

Despite the natural disappointment over the manner of the defeat, Stokes suggested that the finish to the match can only be beneficial to the longer format of the game in the long run as it battles against the increasing popularity of the shorter alternatives.

Speaking to BT Sport, Stokes said: "It is disappointing to not win, but we look at the bigger picture. What everyone has enjoyed here today is probably bigger than any disappointment at the moment.

"Being in that situation in the last half an hour, it is everything you wish for, and even though we came out on the wrong side of it, you can't help but feel blessed that we managed to be a part of an incredible game like that."

New Zealand skipper Tim Southee echoed Stokes's words, adding: "I have to say it ranks right up there. There have only been a handful of sides to be asked to follow on and win so it is pretty special.

"We were on the back foot after two days and the character shown over the last three days has been really pleasing. It is great for Test cricket the way England have been playing and it was another great Test match to be involved in.

"All the guys here cherish Test cricket and hopefully having matches like this will be good for Test cricket going forward."

England do not return to Test cricket until the beginning of June, when they face Ireland, but they are in 50-over action against Bangladesh on Wednesday.

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