New Zealand have won the first ICC Test Championship after beating India in the final by 8 wickets on Wednesday at the Rose Bowl, Southampton. There was a reserve day for the championship match in case the rain interrupts during the play. Eventually, the match ended on the sixth day. New Zealand were superb on the final day and they were desperate to win the contest. It was a collective effort that guided New Zealand to win the most prestigious ICC tournament. This article discusses how New Zealand crowned champion after beating India in the inaugural edition of the ICC Test Championship final.
ICC Test Championship Final Match Report
Rain disrupted every day of the ICC Test Championship Final between New Zealand and India, and the game was not even held on the first day. As a result, the match lasted till the reserve day.New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson opted to bowl first in a swinging condition at the Rose Bowl ground.
The Kiwi pacers were excellent in line and length in the first innings, with neither bowler conceding more than 3 runs per over. Especially, Kyle Jamieson was outstanding in terms of accuracy. He took five wickets for 31 runs, including Rohit Sharma, Rishab Pant, and Captain Virat Kohli.
India were bowled out for 217 after playing 92.1 overs. Ajinkya Rahane was the top scorer (47) for team India, while Virat made 44 runs.
In response, New Zealand scored 249 runs to take a crucial 32-run lead over India in the first innings. Devon Conway led the way with 54 runs, while Captain Kane Williamson chipped in with 49. Fast Bowler Mohammad Shami picked up the highest 4 wickets for India.
India had hoped to bat out the whole day on the final day but were bowled out for 170 after the drinks break in the second session. Rishab Pant scored the highest 41 runs for India, while Tim Southee claimed the most four wickets for New Zealand.
New Zealand had nearly 50 overs to reach the 139-run winning target. Thanks to 96* runs unbeaten stand between Kane Williamson (52) and Ross Taylor (47) guided New Zealand to the victory in the third session of the sixth day. Spinner Ravi Ashwin snatched both the wickets for India. Pacer Kyle Jamieson was named player of the match after taking seven wickets in the match.
Top Performers in the Inaugural ICC Test Championship
We saw some incredible performances and unforgettable matches over the course of the two-year-long ICC Test Championship. Here we mentioned some of the top performers in the inaugural edition of the tournament.
Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne was the most runs scorer in the Test Championship tournament, He made 1,675 runs in 23 innings with an average of 72.82. England’s Joe Root (1,660) and Aussie middle-order batsman Steven Smith (1,341) came in second and third respectively on the list.
India’s off-spinner Ravi Ashwin had the most wickets in the tournament. He picked up 71 wickets with an average of 20.33 in 26 innings. Australia’s Pat Cummins (70) and England’s Stuart Broad (69) were among the top three wicket-takers in the tournament.
Australia’s David Warner was the only player to score 300 runs in an innings in this tournament. His unbeaten 335* runs against Pakistan was the highest innings of the competition, followed by Zak Crawley (267) and Virat Kohli (254*).
Best Bowling Figures
Lankan bowler Lasith Embuldeniya's 7/137 wickets haul against England was the best bowling figure in an innings in the championship. Ravi Ashwin (7/145) and Jasprit Bumrah (6/27) finished second and third respectively on the list.
Before winning the Test championship, New Zealand’s biggest achievement on the international stage was winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2000. The Kiwis played two back-to-back 50-over World Cup finals in 2015 and 2019 but lost both the finals against the arch-rivals Australia and England respectively.
So, New Zealand were desperate to win a major ICC tournament prior to the ICC Test Championship Final against India, and they finally have done it. This New Zealand team is arguably the best ever in their cricket history and they deserve a lot of credit.