SOUTHAMPTON: A tenacious New Zealand lifted the inaugural World Test Championship title with a comfortable eight-wicket win over India on the sixth and final day of the marquee final here on Wednesday.
It is first major ICC trophy for the Black Caps, who had ended runners-up at the 2019 ODI World Cup after losing the final to hosts England on boundary count. They had also lost the 2015 World Cup final to Australia.
The seasoned pair of skipper Kane Williamson (52) and Ross Taylor (47) took New Zealand past the finish line with their unbeaten 96-run partnership as they overhauled the 139-run target without much fuss.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed openers Tom Latham (9) and Devon Conway (19) but the Indians did not have any success after that as the fielders dropped two catches.
India resumed the day at 64 for two but none of the batsmen could play a solid innings and they were all out for 170. Rishabh Pant was top-scorer for them with his 41-run knock.
Williamson is probably one of the few captains who have now got the Indian team out for less than 250 in six consecutive innings, a testimony to his brilliant cricketing acumen and near the perfect execution of plans by his bowlers.
Tim Southee (4/48) did the early damage with his swing bowling, Neil Wagner (1/44) bowled those hard “rib cage” overs coming round the stumps and Trent Boult (3/44), with his ability to bring it back into the left-hander, made for a brilliant few hours of Test cricket.
And then there was India’s nemesis Kyle Jamieson (2/30), who got his “bunny” Kohli third time in three Tests and twice in one to put the icing on the cake.
For Kohli, this is the third failure in big ICC events after the 2017 Champions Trophy and the 2019 World Cup.
He might just have one more shot, which is the T20 World Cup this year, and failing to win that could warrant some changes in the team hierarchy.
India: 217 and 170 all out in 73 overs. (Rishabh Pant 41, Rohit Sharma 30; Tim Southee 4/48, Trent Boult 3/39, Kyle Jamieson 2/30).
New Zealand: 249 and 140 for 2 in 45.5 overs. (K Williamson 52 not out, R Taylor 47 not out; R Ashwin 2/17).
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