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New Zealand v England 2022/23

Watch: The questionable non-wide call one ball before England fell to a one-run defeat

James Anderson looks in anguish after umpire Rod Tucker did not signal a wide in England's one-run loss to New Zealand
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

In a dramatic end to one of the all-time great Tests, New Zealand eked out a one-run win over England in Wellington, with No.11 James Anderson falling to Neil Wagner in the closing stages of day five.

It didn’t end without controversy, questions and debates though. A ball before Anderson’s fateful edge behind, which gave New Zealand a victory by the barest of all margins, the sharp bouncer by Wagner had been questioned for not being given as a wide.

Wagner’s short ball flew past Anderson, who flinched and let it pass, the ball away from his body as it angled towards Tom Blundell behind the stumps. Anderson looked towards umpire Rod Tucker and gave a sigh of anguish when the Australian called it one for the over, depriving England of an anti-climactic levelling of scores.


According to MCC’s Wide Ball Law:

22.1.1 If the bowler bowls a ball, not being a No ball, the umpire shall adjudge it a Wide if, according to the definition in 22.1.2, the ball passes wide of where the striker is standing or has stood at any point after the ball came into play for that delivery, and which also would have passed wide of the striker standing in a normal batting position.

22.1.2 The ball will be considered as passing wide of the striker unless it is sufficiently within reach for him/her to be able to hit it with the bat by means of a normal cricket stroke.

Speaking to BT Sport after the game, David Gower said that it was a contentious call, and could have been a wide “any other time of the game”, but is not “worth digging up” in retrospection.

“I’ve got a nasty feeling that, any other time of the game, that might have been called a wide. If it was two overs earlier, it might have been called a wide. But one run to tie, two to win, it’s a desperate call to have to make. I know there will be no recriminations I am sure within the England camp, because they are better than that. They are bigger than that. They will be talking, there will be thoughts about it for sure. Everyone… and people have seen it on TV, here at the ground. Certainly, on TV you had the best view of it, they will also be asking the question.

“It’ll be like the argument after the events of that Pope catch. Was he encroaching on the pitch? You can go back to that if you want. You can go back over so many things. I honestly think, yes it’s a point of contention, but it’s not worth digging it up…”

Earlier in the studio, Alastair Cook, too, commented on the incident, wondering whether Anderson should have reviewed the contentious call.

“Could he have reviewed it? Because that is very close to a wide,” Cook said. “He went straight away to the umpire and he shows his disgust, because I think that is actually a wide.”

England became just the second team in Test history to lose a Test after enforcing a follow on. The other three instances have all involved Australia: England (v Australia, 1894 & 1981) and India (v Australia 2001)

Watch the non-wide and Gower’s comments here:


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