From what seemed like a confirmed draw, the full day’s play in the last two days made sure that the final of the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship had an outright winner.
At the start of day six, India had to bat at least two sessions to rule out a guaranteed win for New Zealand. But, they were struck with early blows as their overnight batsmen, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara were dismissed by Kyle Jamieson. Rishabh Pant was reprieved early in his innings as Southee dropped a dolly at the second slip. As always, Pant’s aggressive intent kept the bowlers in the hunt. But, wickets fell in regular intervals at the other end. A 37-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh ended when the latter gloved a leg-side ball. Later on, another partnership that got a start wasn’t converted. Ravindra Jadeja was dismissed following a barrage of short balls after posting 33 runs for the sixth wicket. The last four wickets fell for 28 runs and India were in a spot of bother with only 139 runs on board to defend.
New Zealand had a patchy start as both their openers fell within 50 runs. However, the most experienced pair, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, came together to their rescue. There were some moments like Williamson ruled out by the on-field umpire in the 16th over but was reversed on review. Taylor provided an opportunity at slip in the 31st over, but Pujara shelled a simple catch. Apart from these moments, Taylor and Williamson milked runs easily to ensure that they were there at the end when New Zealand crossed the line.
There were few historical stats that were broken or set on the sixth day. Here are a few of them:
A six-day Test after 28 years
When Test cricket began, they consisted of six days which included a rest day and in the late 1920s and 30s, there were matches that had unlimited days (Maximum is 10 days). But, in recent times, a sixth day is rarely witnessed. In fact, the last time it happened was 28 years back in 1993 between Sri Lanka and West Indies in Moratuwa.
New Zealand pacers go all-out
With no spin bowler in the side, it was inevitable that the pacers had to end up bagging all the 20 wickets. This was the 18th match in which all 20 wickets were bagged by the Kiwi pacers. Their record is mind-boggling when they have bagged all 20 wickets. In those 18 matches, including today, New Zealand have won 17 times. The only match they lost was in 1990 against Pakistan in Faisalabad.
Bumrah’s second consecutive wicket-less outing
In the 20 matches Bumrah has played, he has made a name for himself as one of the greats. However, in the last two matches, it hasn’t been the case. His last match, prior to the WTC final was against England in Ahmedabad and he bowled only six overs in that match without a wicket. In the WTC final, Bumrah bowled a total of 36.4 overs without a wicket, the driest spell for him in a match. In the first innings he bowled 26 overs without a wicket, the most he has bowled in an innings without one.
Ashwin bags the most wickets in the WTC cycle
Kohli once said about Ashwin as “you can’t keep records away from him for long”. The spinner leaves up to the reputation a lot. In the first innings, he levelled Anil Kumble’s tally of bagging the first wicket of the innings as a spinner 25 times. In the second, with the wicket of Tom Latham, again, he went past him. Then, with the wicket Devon Conway, he had 71 wickets in this WTC cycle. Which meant, he went past Pat Cummins' sum of 70 wickets to lead the wicket-takers chart in this WTC cycle.
Tom Latham’s rare kind of a dismissal
In Tests, it is a rarity to see a batsman getting stumped, especially an opener in non-Asian conditions. Latham, looking to accelerate towards the target, danced down to Ashwin only to see Rishabh whip off the bails. Latham’s stumping was only the fifth instance of an opener being stumped in the fourth inning of a match on English soil. However, Latham was dismissed for a single-digit score. The last opener to be stumped in England conditions for a single-digit score was way back in 1968. Bob Cowper of Australia was the batsman and Ray Illingworth was the bowler.
Out with the old, in with the new
On this day in 2013 (23rd June), India won the Champions Trophy against England. Including the 2013 CT, seven ICC tournaments have taken place till the WTC finals. The best part is, in none of those have there been a repeated winner.
New Zealand joins an elite list of inaugural winners. West Indies in 1975 under Clive Lloyd won the first-ever ODI World Cup. Hansie Cronje was the skipper for South Africa when they lifted the inaugural Champions Trophy (Knock-Out) in 1998. MS Dhoni lifted the 2007 World T20 and now Williamson goes down the annals of history as the first-ever captain to lead his side to a victory in the WTC. Now, the fab four of this era – Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Joe Root – all have an ICC trophy under their belt. But, Williamson is the only one to lift it as a skipper.