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New Zealand’s Road to ICC World Test Championship Glory

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New Zealand beat India by 8 wickets in the ICC World Test Championship final at Ageas Bowl in Southampton to emerge champions. Here’s a look at their two-year journey in the Test Championship:

New Zealand tour of Sri Lanka. Result: NZ 1, SL 1

It was not a very  auspicious start to their campaign as New Zealand succumbed to a six-wicket defeat in their very first Test of the ICC WTC, losing the series opener to Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium. However, New Zealand bounced back in the series in spectacular fashion with an innings thrashing of their hosts at the P Sara Oval in Colombo. In reply to Sri Lanka’s 244 out in first innings, New Zealand declared at 431/6 with Tom Latham making 154 and BJ Watling hitting an unbeaten 105. Sri Lanka were skittled for 122 in their second dig with the tourists winning by an innings and 65 runs.

Interestingly, it was their only overseas win of the Test Championship league stage. The other overseas win in their campaign came in the final.

New Zealand tour of Australia. Result: NZ 0, Australia 3.

New Zealand will want to erase the memories of their three-match tour of Australia for good. They not only lost the series 0-3 but the margins of defeats were big as well. New Zealand just could not compete in the bouncy tracks of Australia. It was their only other overseas trip for the World Test Championship league stage, and they failed miserably.

In the first Test, Australia took a 1-0 lead by winning the first Test in Perth by 296 runs. Then came the Boxing Day Test and Australia stormed to a 247-run win. In the third and final Test, the hosts completed a series sweep with another huge win, this time by 279 runs. Their chances in the WTC suffered a major roadblock with the horrible show

India tour of New Zealand. Result: NZ 2, India 0.

Who knew back then that this would be a preview for things to come in the final? In conditions similar to England, the venue for the WTC final, NZ showed they’re the boss as India struggled.

In the first Test at the Basin Reserve, they sailed to a 10-wicket win, chasing down mere nine runs in 1.4 overs

Though India put up an improved show with the bat in Christchurch, it was still not enough to get over the red-hot Kiwis. India were skittled for 122 in their second innings after they made 242-all out in the first dig. New Zealand chased down 132 runs with seven wickets remaining and took 120 points from the series. India could not get past 250 in the series – something they couldn’t manage in the final as well.

West Indies tour of New Zealand. Result: NZ 2, WI 0

New Zealand hosted West Indies in late 2020 and beat them 2-0 in the two-Test series. Captain Kane Williamson was the star of the show making 251 runs as New Zealand won by an innings and 134 runs in the first Test. However, he was injured for the second Test and in his place, Tom Latham was handed over the reins. Powered by century from Henry Nicholls (174) and an unbeaten 66 from no. 10 Neil Wagner, NZ made 460 in their first innings. West Indies were bowled out for 131 and 317 in their first and second innings respectively as the hosts completed another innings win – this time by an innings and 12 runs to win series 2-0.

Pakistan tour of New Zealand. Result: NZ 2, Pakistan 0

New Zealand next welcomed Pakistan for a two-match Test series. They continued their red-hot form at home and with another Williamson special (129 off 297), NZ roared to a 101-run win in at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui in Tauranga.

A confident New Zealand raised their game another level in the series finale at Hagley Oval. After limiting Pakistan to 297-all out, Williamson peeled off another double-ton with Henry Nicholls and Daryl Mitchell hitting century apiece in 659/6 declared. Pakistan were bowled out for 186 with NZ winning by an innings and 176 runs. With Australia losing 1-2 to India in a four-match series, the path was cleared for NZ to qualify for the WTC final.

Prior to the Test Championship final, New Zealand played two Tests against England in England, winning the series 1-0. However, that was not a part of the WTC.

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