New Zealand overcame rain interruptions, bad light and a gritty Indian side to clinch the inaugural World Test Championship in Southampton.
The Kiwis bagged their first-ever ICC trophy with an eight-wicket win over Virat Kohli’s men.
Williamson shows nerves of steel
Kane Williamson missed out on bringing the ODI World Cup to New Zealand two years ago, but he did not let anything get in his way in Southampton where top-ranked India battled for glory.
His patient, masterful and mature innings were crucial in the context of the game as NZ had lost their openers early in the run chase.
He made no mistake in flicking the ball down to square leg to see off India in the one-off historic Test.
The NZ skipper remained not out on 52 alongside Ross Taylor who was at 47.
The duo showed no signs of a hurry while chasing the meagre total of 139 in 53 overs.
The England tour edge
There’s no denying that New Zealand were a far better, well-rounded side throughout the game.
They were clinical with the bat and bowl nor did they let a fumble or two disrupt their concentration in the field.
But what made them adapt better to the English conditions seemed to be their early arrival.
The two Tests against Joe Root’s troops prepared Williamson’s the best.
After capping off a 1-0 series win over the hosts, the NZ were more than ready to caress the ICC Test mace.
This made the difference in Southampton.
It was expected that Indian batsmen will struggle a bit, but the woes only extended when the game got underway.
Apart from Ajinkya Rahane’s 49, Kohli 44 and Rishabh Pant’s 44, no Indian batsmen delivered the goods.
The veteran in Rohit Sharma did not stand tall throughout the game.
Known for hammering the opposition in white-ball cricket, the Hitman lost his wicket rather cheaply in both innings.
Cheteshwar Pujara had a similar scenario.
While Sharma did get going to register 64 runs in the match, Pujara made 23 only.
This was odd to watch for the fans who saw the same Indian batters push Australia to the ropes in their backyard.
Let the swing talk
In the recent Test series, New Zealand have been swinging the ball both ways around 2.4%, the highest among any Test-playing nation and this was visible in Southampton too.
How late they got the swing was also mesmerising for every cricket fanatic.
This was a familiar sight whether it was Tim Southee with the new ball or newcomer Kyle Jamieson.
They adapted to overcast conditions the best and did not let any Indian batsmen stick around too long.
In the first innings, it was Man of the Match Jamieson who got another five-for while the veteran Southee got four in the second innings to dismantle the Indian team for 170 only.
The fact that none of the Indian batsmen scored a fifty in both innings speaks volumes of the quality of the NZ pace cartel.
New Zealand 249 (Conway 54, Williamson 49, Shami 4-76) and 140 for 2 (Williamson 52*, Taylor 47, Ashwin 2-17) beat India 217 (Rahane 49, Kohli 44, Jamieson 5-31) and 170 (Pant 41, Southee 4-48) by eight wickets.