Rival captains Kane Williamson and Mohammad Rizwan paid rich tribute to New Zealand quick Neil Wagner who bowled with two broken toes to help the hosts win the tense opening test against Pakistan on Wednesday.
Wagner played the last three days of the match with the broken toes after being hit by a Shaheen Afridi yorker in New Zealand’s first innings at the Bay Oval.
The left-arm quick played through pain and went on to claim two second innings wickets, including of centurion Fawad Alam, as New Zealand prevailed with 4.3 overs remaining in the test.
“I just told Kane Williamson he’s mad,” Rizwan told reporters after their 101-run defeat at Mount Maunganui.
“I know New Zealand are very proud of him, he bowled so well with that attitude and aggression.”
Home captain Williamson also praised the “special effort from” team man Wagner.
“He was going off and having injections and numbing his foot and we were trying to use him when the injection was taking effect – it was kind of unique for all of us,” Williamson said.
“His appetite and motivation to be out there and try and make a difference for the team is huge and we haven’t seen it any bigger than the effort he’s put in across this test match.”
“It was a very, very special effort from Wags, one that the team appreciated. We needed him out there and he delivered.”
The win fetched New Zealand 60 points and they are third in the World Test Championship (WTC) standings — behind Australia (76.6) and India (72.2) — having earned 66.7% points from their completed matches.
They will be seeking a second successive victory in the final test at Christchurch from Jan. 3 to boost their chances of reaching the WTC final at Lord’s in June.