That brings us to the end of our coverage of the two-year-long ICC World Test Championship, a journey stretching back two years than began with the first Test of the 2019 Ashes. New Zealand started off with a couple of bumps, getting held to a 1-1 draw in Sri Lanka and suffering a 3-0 whitewash in Australia, but their incredible consistency since then, sweeping sides such as India, Pakistan and West Indies as well as their top-tier performance in the summit clash against the Indians in Southampton lead to the ‘nice guys’ being crowned the inaugural world Test champions. Spare a thought for the Indians, who had a perfect home run and pulled off a once-in-a-lifetime heist in Australia along the way, but fell short in yet another ICC final.
Hope you enjoyed our coverage. Time to take a break from Test cricket for a bit as we shift our focus to some white-ball action, starting with the first T20I between England and Sri Lanka in Cardiff which is underway at the moment. On behalf of my colleague Shubham, this is Amit signing off, bidding you all good night!
Kane Williamson, NZ Captain:
Very special feelings. Yeah, couple of close games in the past. Nice to get over the line here. Congratulations to Virat and Indian team. Just great to see the heart showed to get over the line. It is hard for me to say it is the greatest moment in our history but it is a special feeling. Special achievement and one to remember. I think for us we know we don’t have the stars and I think we saw a lot of heart and commitment which was as great, we know how strong this Indian side is. It is not always easy in final and anything can happen. Throughout the match, through the ebbs and flows, no one really knew the outcome. That (first innings batting) was tough, they (Indians) are amazing attack and did not get you much for a long period. That lead was important. Very sporting surface. Ross is very experienced. Nice to be a part of partnership with Ross and be there till the end. I don’t know if he (Watling) is retiring anymore (chuckles). He really epitomises what this team is. Amazing career and been a huge part of the team. A great occasion to celebrate. A fantastic career.
Virat Kohli, India captain: “Big congratulations to Kane and the whole team. They showed great consistency and heart over the three days. They thoroughly deserve the win. First day got washed out, and when play resumed, it was difficult to get any sort of momentum. We did really well with the ball first innings to pull things nicely. This morning was crucial. In the end, I think we were 30-40 short to put them under serious pressure. (On team combination) The combination that we played, we have been successful over different conditions. If we had more game time and the wicket wore out a bit more, the spinners might have had a bigger role. (On MoM Kyle Jamieson) He’s a quality cricketer and coming up nicely in international cricket. He’s certainly got the same attitude when he plays there (RCB) as he does for New Zealand. (On WTC) It’s great for the game. This format will definitely keep Test cricket exciting. No Test match will be boring. (Excited for England Tests?) Definitely we are. Long summer ahead, but we definitely have the squad to do something special.”
Kyle Jamieson is Player of the Match
Jamieson: It is massive. To be standing up here now is surreal. This is a very good Indian side, beating them would be tough task we knew it. Yeah, Kane has a lot of trust in me. I just wanted to play a part. Nice to get ball in hand. Spends six weeks in RCB dressing room with him (Kohli) and it was awesome.
BJ Watling, playing his final game in international cricket today, speaks to Michael Atherton after the game:
“Pretty ecstatic to be honest. It been a lot of hard work over a long period of time for our team as a group, and to get over the line like that is pretty special. I guess chasing a total like that on a wicket that was definitely offering was pretty special. (Did he think he’d end up a world Test champion) No. That wasn’t around when I started. It’s extremely exciting for the game. I’m pretty stoked to get over the line. (Support along the way) My family back home. My mum’s pushed me through some tough times, my wife Jess and my two boys. I had a huge amount of support throughout the years, none more so than from my teammates.”
Ross Taylor: Obviously, still sinking in. Liked the way the team fought. Kane has been a fantastic leader for the team for a long time. Has to be the biggest highlight in my career. This is for the fans back home. It was nice to be able to stand up today. That (Bumrah bouncer that hit him on the head) definitely took off, thanks to my helmet for saving me. 2019 World Cup was tough for us.
Two great teams at their best. Congratulations to India and New Zealand on a terrific match.
— Graeme Smith (@GraemeSmith49) June 23, 2021
After 45.5 overs,New Zealand 140/2 ( Kane Williamson (C) 52 , Ross Taylor 47)
Shami’s 11th over turns out to be the final one of the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship, as Williamson plucks a single off the third ball before Taylor — a veteran cricketer who has been without title success for so long — seals the win with a boundary off the penultimate delivery.
New Zealand defeat India by eight wickets and win their second ICC title!
FOUR! Taylor finishes off in style, whipping the ball away towards the square leg fence off Shami! New Zealand are the inaugural World Test Champions as they win the final by eight wickets, and end their 21-year wait for a second ICC title! NZ 140/2