On Wednesday, New Zealand defeated Pakistan and climbed to number one spot in the ICC Test Rankings for the first time in their history. There were many notable contributions throughout the Test but none bigger than Neil Wagner’s.

New Zealand pace bowler Neil Wagner summoned his usual relentless spirit and battled through the pain of two broken toes in the first Test against Pakistan.

Wagner needed pain-killing injections during the test, which the hosts won by 101 runs, after he was struck on the foot while batting on the second day at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.

“Neil was absolutely outstanding,” Stead told reporters at Christchurch airport on Thursday. “I don’t think there are too many individuals who could do what he did in that test match.

“Neil hasn’t travelled with us. The injections he was getting (to lessen the pain) were wearing off (quickly) and we can’t let him go through that again.”

“People talk about the size of his heart in terms of what he does on the cricket field, but to have a couple of broken toes, and he was in a lot of pain – I want to be careful here because he’s probably going to listen to this (laughs) – but he was in a lot of pain,” Williamson said. “He was going off and getting injections and numbing his foot. We tried to use him when the injection was taking effect. It was kind of unique for all of us.

Stead was pleased with the first Test performance against a tough Pakistan side, who were behind for much of the match but were still in with a chance of snatching victory in the final session.

Wagner needed pain-killing injections during the test. He was struck on the foot on the second day of Test match while batting. He battled through the pain and bowled 21 overs in the first and 29 in the second innings and bagged 4 wickets.

“Neil hasn’t travelled with us. The injections he was getting to reduce the pain were wearing off quickly and we can’t let him go through that again.”

New Zealand’s team doctor has confirmed that Wagner will be out of action for atleast six weeks. Stead said that his replacement will be named on Friday. Matt Henry is most likely to replace him.

Stead further said that he was very happy with his side performance against a tough opposition who were resilient in the second innings.

“That was tough, really hard test cricket and it was good to come out on the right side of it against a tough Pakistan team,” he said. “I thought Mohammad Rizwan and Fawad Alam’s partnership was outstanding and they nearly took the game away from us. That’s what makes test cricket what it is.”


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