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Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson chased down the total of 139 set up by India on the Reserve Day as New Zealand lifted the inaugural World Test Championship trophy. Captain Kane Williamson and the experienced Ross Taylor dug deep as New Zealand chased down the 139-run target with 8 wickets in hand in the last hour of the reserve day to beat India and lift the inaugural World Test Championship title at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

Williamson registered his 33rd Test fifty scoring an unbeaten 52 while Taylor scored 47 runs as the Kiwis registered the big win. The winning runs came off Taylor’s bat as he flicked a delivery of pacer Mohammed Shami towards deep square leg fence for a boundary. The foundation was laid by Tim Southee, who starred with the ball by picking up four wickets earlier on Wednesday. India was bowled out for 170 in their second innings, setting New Zealand a target of 139 in 53 overs.

The Blackcaps openers Tom Latham and Devon Conway saw off the new ball but were dismissed by Ashwin which gave India a glimmer of hope. But once Williamson and Taylor got set, the boundaries kept coming and the pitch didn’t have enough to assist the Indian seamers. The last nail on the coffin was when Pujara dropped Taylor off Bumrah’s bowling when New Zealand still needed 54 runs. The day started with the sun shining brightly on the Rose Bowl in Southampton for the first time in six days. But it all turned dark and gloomy for the Indians as they lost the big wickets of captain Virat Kohli (13) and Cheteshwar Pujara (15) in the first hour of the play itself.

The damage was done by New Zealand’s star paceman of the match, Kyle Jamieson, who managed to induce the outside edge off the bat of both the experienced Indian batsmen. That brought the duo of Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant to the middle. Rahane played with caution while Rishabh Pant danced down the track for that occasional big shot. Pant’s antics weren’t of much help as New Zealand pacers continued to bowl a disciplined line and length.

Both the batsmen managed to thwart the danger for a while and kept the scoreboard ticking. But with India’s score on 109, Rahane (15) edged one to the keeper off Trent Boult. It was an unlucky dismissal as Rahane got a faint edge while looking to glance the delivery on the leg side. Ravindra Jadeja came out to bat next and he along with Pant took India to Lunch. Jadeja and Pant looked solid after the Lunch break too but Neil Wagner produced a beauty to send back Jadeja for 16 as India slumped to 142/6.

The end was quick thereafter as Pant and Ashwin perished in the same over to Trent Boult as they looked to score some quick runs to make New Zealand’s task a little tougher when they came out to bat. Mohammed Shami scored a couple of boundaries before Tim Southee wrapped up the innings by sending him and Jasprit Bumrah back. India were bowled out for 170 as they set a target of 139 for New Zealand to become champions of the inaugural World Test Championship.

New Zealand had bowled India out for 217 in the first innings after electing to field first with Jamieson picking up a fifer. In reply, it was Mohammed Shami who led India’s bowling with 4 wickets as the Kiwis were bowled out for 249 with the tailenders adding crucial runs to give the Kiwis a 32-run lead. All this had happened in a little over 2 days of cricket as day 1 and 4 were completely washed out due to rain. The match would have ended in a draw with the two teams sharing the title had it not been for the provision of the reserve day.

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Anirudh Chandel

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