Two of New Zealand cricket’s greatest have helped the team win Test cricket’s greatest title.
The Black Caps are the first-ever winners of the World Test Championship title after beating India by 8 wickets on Day 6 of the final at Southampton.
A 96-run third-wicket partnership between Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor was all that was needed to hold off the Indian challenge and vanquish the demons of ICC finals in 2015 and 2019.
Kane remained unbeaten on 52 and Taylor on 47 as the Kiwis chased down the 139-run target with ease. A target that was a manageable one courtesy the bowlers who ran through the Indian batting line-up and dismissed them for 170.
"“This would have to be the highlight of my career. At the start of my career, I felt we probably did not have the side to do this.”" - Ross Taylor
Kiwis’ Big Chase
With India bowled out for 170 and the sun shining over the Rose Bowl, New Zealand needed 139 runs in a 53 overs to win the inaugural ICC World Test Championship title.
Devon Conway and Tom Latham started the chase and also set the pace, scoring just 21 runs in the first 10 overs. Time was on their hands but wickets needed to be preserved to avoid any surprises later in the innings. Ashwin though put a spanner on those plans, getting India their first breakthrough in the 14th over - Tom Latham caught behind on a 41-ball 9.
Kane Williamson then walked into join Devon Conway, the 29-year-old who made his Test debut this June against England and scored a double century to mark the occasion, but their partnership lasted just over three overs as Ashwin struck once again. Conway given out lbw on 19, New Zealand reduced to 44/2.
India had a foot in the door and a couple more wickets would have let them make a real match of it but Ross Taylor walked out to bat with a resolve and possibly some demons to vanquish from 2019. He and Williamson, New Zealand’s highest and second highest run-scorers in Test cricket, then proceeded onto defy the Indian bowlers as they brought their team home.
Ross Taylor hitting the winning runs.
Jamieson Stars as India Score 170
Earlier, India started on their overnight score of 64/2 with Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara at the crease. Both batters though were back in the dressing room in the first half hour of play with Kyle Jamieson picking Virat’s wicket for the second time in the match. Virat had added just five runs to his overnight score before nicking one that bounced a bit more to wicket-keeper BJ Watling.
Trent Boult too joined the party sending back Ajinkya Rahane and India went to Lunch at 130/5.
Post lunch, however, they kept losing wickets as the tail failed to add big runs once again. Rishabh Pant, who was the innings top-scorer with 41 runs, was the last hope for India but he fell to a rash shot as the seventh wicket with the score on 156.
India eventually managed to score 170, setting New Zealand a target of 139.
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