New Zealand beat India by eight wickets to win the inaugural World Test Championship title

New Zealand enjoyed the greatest triumph in their cricket history as they beat India by eight wickets in the inaugural World Test Championship final at Southampton on Wednesday. Two years after their agonising Super Over loss to England in the 50-over World Cup final at Lord’s, the Blackcaps claimed their first major global title. Set a modest target of 139 in 53 overs, New Zealand finished on 140-2 with time to spare in a match extended into a reserve sixth day following two days lost to rain.

Beginning of day six, India had to bat at least two sessions to rule out a guaranteed win for New Zealand. But, they were struck with early blows as their overnight batsmen, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara were dismissed by Kyle Jamieson. Rishabh Pant was reprieved early in his innings as Southee dropped a dolly at the second slip. As always, Pant’s aggressive intent kept the bowlers in the hunt. But, wickets fell in regular intervals at the other end. A 37-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh ended when the latter gloved a leg-side ball. Later on, another partnership that got a start wasn’t converted. Ravindra Jadeja was dismissed following a barrage of short balls after posting 33 runs for the sixth wicket. The last four wickets fell for 28 runs and India were in a spot of bother with only 139 runs on board to defend.

New Zealand had a patchy start as both their openers fell within 50 runs. However, the most experienced pair, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, came together to their rescue. There were some moments like Williamson ruled out by the on-field umpire in the 16th over but was reversed on review. Taylor provided an opportunity at slip in the 31st over, but Pujara shelled a simple catch. Apart from these moments, Taylor and Williamson milked runs easily to ensure that they were there at the end when New Zealand crossed the line.

Kane Williamson | New Zealand (winning) captain: It’s a special feeling. It’s nice to get one under the belt. I’d like to thank Virat and the Indian team. The heart that our team showed was commendable. It’s the first time we have come away with a world title, and the 22 players who played a big part in getting across the line deserve all the appreciation. This will be remembered for a long time. We don’t always have all the stars, and we saw that in this match. We saw so much heart and commitment. We know how strong the Indian side is, in all conditions. It’s a fickle game, in a one-off final. It ebbed and flowed, no one really had the upper hand for six days, and I’m happy we’re on the right side of it. It was certainly tough going in the first innings. The lower order played with more freedom and got us a lead that gave us an edge. Ross is obviously very experienced and calm in these situations and it was great to be with him right there at the end. BJ Watling – I don’t know if he’s retiring any more actually (jokes). He’s a scrappy player, so this is a fitting end to a fantastic career for BJ Watling.

Virat Kohli | India (losing) captain: First up, a big congratulations to Kane and his team. They’ve shown great consistency and heart, and pull off a result in three days. They put us under pressure throughout the Test and did extremely well to win. It was difficult to get momentum on Day 2, and we did really well with the ball in the first innings. This morning was the difference where their bowlers executed their plans to perfection and didn’t give us scoring opportunities. We were 30-40 short of giving them a good target. I don’t regret announcing my XI beforehand, because you need an all-rounder in the side but we made a unanimous decision that these are the best XI we can take into the park. Jamieson is coming up nicely in international cricket – good areas with the ball, and he can bat quite well too. He’s had a great game and he deserves the man of the match award. It’s great for the game (WTC) and the more Test cricket is given importance, the better it will be for international cricket. It’s a great move by ICC. Test cricket is the heartbeat of the game. It’s a long summer ahead and we are really looking forward to the next series (Tests against England)

Kyle Jamieson | Man of the Match: It’s a massive moment. To have some context around Test cricket is big and to be standing here now is surreal. I knew we had a big first hour today. We had the ball in the right areas, and we knew it would be a tough task. It’s nice to have the ball first up and play your part. It’s nice to have a chance to do good things for the team. The work that the other bowlers did was really helpful for my figures. Virat is a world-class player, and it was good to have some experience against him at RCB. To pick him up twice in the Test was great.

Most runs in World Test Championship:

1675 Marnus Labuschagne
1660 Joe Root
1341 Steven Smith
1334 Ben Stokes
1159 Ajinkya Rahane
1094 Rohit Sharma

Most wickets in World Test Championship

71 R Ashwin
70 Pat Cummins
69 Stuart Broad
56 Tim Southee
56 Nathan Lyon
48 Josh Hazlewood

Also Read: Day Three: Incredible of Sundar and Thakur For India, Australia Lead By 54 Runs

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