New Zealand are the World Champions of Test cricket. (Getty Images)
New Zealand are the World Champions of Test cricket. (Getty Images)

'Nice guys don't always finish last': Former India cricketers laud New Zealand for winning World Test Championship title

  • This is New Zealand's first ICC title in two decades, after having beaten India in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy in the year 2000.
By, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 24, 2021 07:19 AM IST

Former India cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virender, VVS Laxman, Aakash Chopra, and Wasim Jaffer lauded New Zealand after they beat India by eight wickets to lift the inaugural World Test Championship title at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Wednesday. This is New Zealand’s first ICC title in two decades. In fact, their first ICC trophy came when they had beaten India in the final of the Champions Trophy in 2000.

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The Kane Williamson-led side, which had agonisingly lost the ODI World Cup 2019 final to England on the boundary-count rule, chased down the 139-run target with eight wickets in hand on the reserve day of the final.

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Set a modest target of 139 in 53 overs, New Zealand finished on 140/2 with plenty of time to spare in a match extended into a reserve sixth day following two days lost to rain. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin reduced New Zealand to 44-2 by removing openers Tom Latham and Devon Conway to the delight of India fans.

But New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, the team's most-experienced batsmen, settled any lingering nerves in an unbroken stand of 96. Williamson, who won plaudits for the sporting way he dealt with defeat in the 2019 World Cup final, was 52 not out following his first-innings 49, with Taylor - who hit the winning boundary - unbeaten on 47.

India's last hope of turning the tide evaporated when, with New Zealand 55 runs shy of victory at 84-2, Cheteshwar Pujara dropped a regulation slip catch off the luckless Jasprit Bumrah to reprieve Taylor on 26. Bumrah dropped Williamson shortly before one of the most outstanding batsmen of his era completed an 86-ball fifty, including eight fours.

Taylor ended the match in the 46th over when he whipped Mohammed Shami off his pads for four. Earlier, Tim Southee took wickets at both ends of the innings in a return of 4-48 in 19 overs, with long-time new-ball partner Trent Boult striking twice in an over during his 3-39. And the towering Kyle Jamieson followed his first-innings 5/31, by snaring India captain Virat Kohli for the second time in the match during a miserly 2/30 in 24 overs.

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