Stokes 'blessed' to have played in New Zealand-England classic and has no follow-on regrets
Ben Stokes felt "blessed" to have taken part in one of the all-time great Test finishes and has no regrets in enforcing the follow-on despite England's one-run loss to New Zealand.
Neil Wagner took four wickets, including the final scalp of James Anderson, as England were bowled for 256 requiring 258 for victory.
It meant the series finished tied at 1-1, while New Zealand became only the fourth team to win a Test having been forced to follow-on.
"It is disappointing to not win, but we look at the bigger picture," England captain Stokes told BT Sport.
"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."
England declared with two wickets remaining in their first innings and asked New Zealand to bat again after knocking the Black Caps over for 209.
But instead of going back to the crease to give New Zealand something to chase, Stokes opted to have the hosts bat again – a decision he would not change.
"Imagine captaining in hindsight? That's not something I would ever do," he said.
"It was always our game to lose once we had enforced the follow-on. The logic was our bowlers had ripped through their top order three innings in a row and we knew New Zealand had to play pretty much the perfect game to put us in a situation like this.
"Batting in the last innings chasing 250 is not something we were worried about, but you have to give huge credit to New Zealand not just for the way they batted in their second innings but the way they bowled and managed to get early wickets with not too many runs on the board.
"Other teams are allowed to pay better than us and New Zealand played better than us this week."
Stokes said Anderson's reaction to being the final wicket, where he walked off smiling, summed up the feeling of everyone playing in the Test match.
"I didn't know how Jimmy would react when he walked off," Stokes added.
"He's been in those positions before where he's walked off disappointed, but the fact he was walking off smiling made everything we talk and speak about true and a reality."