Two years after their heartbreak in the World Cup final at Lord’s, New Zealand returned to English soil and emerged triumphant, an eight-wicket victory over India meaning Kane Williamson’s men were crowned the inaugural world Test champions at the end of a dramatic sixth day that stirred the senses.
New Zealand fourth-innings target of 139 in 53 overs knocked off with seven to spare through a classy unbeaten 52 from Williamson, ice utterly running through his veins, and Ross Taylor’s typically grafted 47 not out from No 4.
Virat Kohli could only look on and applaud as Taylor flicked the winning runs through the leg-side and a pocket of shirtless New Zealand supporters erupted; his is a champion team – the dominant force in Test cricket in recent years and one half of a memorable final – and should not be defined by the loss.
Ultimately India came up short with the bat during the best batting conditions of the match. New Zealand’s all-seam attack, led by their breakout star in Kyle Jamieson but with no weak link among them, had earlier skittled their opponents for 170 after lunch to set up the victory charge.
Tim Southee had set the ball rolling the night before when wiping out both Indian openers and finished with four for 48. Trent Boult also claimed two key strikes and eased the nerves of his old friend after dropping the dangerous Rishabh Pant on five at slip; the wicketkeeper holed out for a top score of 41 thanks to a sensational running catch by Henry Nicholls over his shoulder.
But it was Jamieson who sent a match seemingly destined for a draw and a shared title hurtling towards its memorable conclusion after India resumed on 64 for two and leading by 32. He knocked over Kohli and Pujara first thing – the former for the second time as he poked one behind for 13 – amid award-winning match figures of seven for 61 from 46 overs, some 22 of which were maidens.