After over two years of anguish and heartbreak, New Zealand on Wednesday shrugged off memories of the 2019 ODI World Cup defeat, defeating India by eight wickets to clinch the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) at Hampshire Bowl in Southampton.
Chasing a modest 193-run total on the sixth day of the rain-marred Test, New Zealand suffered a couple of early blows. Openers Tom Latham (9) and Devon Conway (19) departed early, rekindling India's hopes of a victory.
The experienced duo of skipper Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, however, dropped anchor as the Kiwis inched closer towards closure. Williamson scored unbeaten 52 while Taylor added 47* to his name as New Zealand ultimately lifted the mace.
After the defeat, India skipper Virat Kohli congratulated the New Zealand side for putting up an impressive show throughout the course of the Test. Kohli also admitted that India were 30 to 40 runs short of giving the Kiwis a challenging target.
"First up, a big congratulations to Kane and his team. They've shown great consistency and heart, and pull off a result in three days. They put us under pressure throughout the Test and did extremely well to win. It was difficult to get momentum on Day 2, and we did really well with the ball in the first innings," said Kohli.
"This morning was the difference where their bowlers executed their plans to perfection and didn't give us scoring opportunities. We were 30-40 short of giving them a good target. I don't regret announcing my XI beforehand, because you need an all-rounder in the side but we made a unanimous decision that these are the best XI we can take into the park," he further said.
Kohli also praised Kyle Jamieson for winning the Man of the Match trophy in the marquee clash. The towering pacer, also Kohli's teammate at Royal Challengers Bangalore, got the better of the Indian skipper in both innings of the Test.
"Jamieson is coming up nicely in international cricket - good areas with the ball, and he can bat quite well too. He's had a great game and he deserves the man of the match award."
Underlining the importance of Test cricket, Kohli labelled the longest format as the "heartbeat" of the sport.
"It's great for the game (WTC) and the more Test cricket is given importance, the better it will be for international cricket. It's a great move by ICC. Test cricket is the heartbeat of the game. It's a long summer ahead and we are really looking forward to the next series," concluded Kohli.