Williamson and Taylor Guide New Zealand to World Test C’ship Title
Two of New Zealand’s greats guided them to Test cricket’s greatest title.
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 earlier in the day 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
This is New Zealand's sixth successive win over India in ICC tournaments, dating back to World T20 in 2007.
Kiwis’ Big Chase
With India bowled out for 170 and the sun shining over the Rose Bowl, New Zealand needed 139 runs in a minimum of 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 and Pant though put a spanner on those plans as Latham came down the wicket to Ashwin only to be stumped by the keeper. NZ were 33/1.
India thought they had the key wicket of Kane Williamson for just one when he was given out LBW by umpire Michael Gough, again off Ashwin, only for the decision to be overturned on review.
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.
Taylor in particular crunched a couple of wider balls through the off-side for four and when Pujara dropped him at slip off the bowling of Bumrah, with 55 runs still needed, the writing appeared to be on the wall.
And so it proved, as the two veteran New Zealanders hit another gear to reach the target inside 46 overs, despite a Williamson skier hitting the ground with the Black Caps approaching single figures needed.
Fittingly, the New Zealand skipper reached the half-century mark, bringing up his 50 with a boundary, while Taylor flicked the winning runs through the leg-side.
India Manage 170 in Second Innings
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 within 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.
‘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.’Virat Kohli
Post Lunch, however, India kept losing wickets as the tail failed to add big runs once again.
35-year-old BJ Watling - playing his final Test match of a distinguished international career - dislocated his right ring finger during the morning session but gamely battled on behind the stumps and took his third catch of the innings to remove Ravindra Jadeja after lunch and reduce India to 142 for six.
The unorthodox Rishabh Pant had shown his class when whipping Jamieson through mid-on for four before charging down the pitch to Wagner and punching the ball through mid-off for another boundary, so him finally being dismissed for 41 felt like a huge moment for New Zealand.
Pant danced down the track once again, aiming to hit Boult over long-on but instead got under the ball and Henry Nicholls took a good catch over his shoulder with India still only on 156.
The Indian tail was then quickly dispatched as Boult had Ashwin caught by Taylor two balls later and Southee ended with innings-best figures of 4/48 by dismissing Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, both caught by Tom Latham, as India were all out for just 170.
It was the first time since 2018 that no Indian batsman reached a half-century in either innings of a Test match and a target of 139 looked within reach of New Zealand.
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