It's the 35th over, Shami to Ross Taylor, FOUR, the nice guys come first! New Zealand win the inaugural World Test Championship final, and are the undisputed champions of cricket! Picks this off his legs and swats this away with a signature flick to the deep square leg fence for four, and the dressing room is in delirium! Kane Williamson hugs Ross Taylor mid-pitch. No wild celebrations, just a fitting encapsulation of the gentleman's game, acknowledging an incredible battle in this final showdown...
The last day (reserve day) of the World Test Championship had only two practical outcomes and none seemed to include a win for India. India had a lead of 32 runs when play started with Skipper Kohli and Pujara at the crease. Both started well in the morning but New Zealand were relentless with their line and lengths. Eventually Kohli fell to a ball he would feel he shouldn't have played at it, but it's the build up before that mattered more in his dismissal. Then Jamieson sowed the doubt in Pujara's mind and nicked him off. Rahane was up for a fight but he saw the downside of being overcautious - unlucky strangle down leg-side. Then came Pant and Pant played like Pant. Went after bowling multiple times and could very well be out but he stayed in. Jadeja looked good with the bat. India went to lunch with a lead of 98 runs.
New Zealand had a great session. They've done almost everything right in post-lunch: from getting Pant to run out of luck, to blowing away the Indian tail, to negating the tricky eight over phase with the bat. They've been really good. From India's point of view, nobody expected Pant and Jadeja to play watchfully, and surely nobody expected the tail to wag either. But it's the bowling with this new ball that would disappoint the most. Ishant was wide thereby not making the batsmen play, while Shami, despite getting it to seam sharply, had been just that tad bit short once again.
India, like the rest of the day and most of the test match, were not anywhere near the New Zealanders in this session too. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin reduced New Zealand to 44-2 by removing openers Tom Latham and Devon Conway to the delight of India fans. But, New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, the team's most-experienced batsmen, settled any lingering nerves in an unbroken stand of 96. Williamson, who won plaudits for the sporting way he dealt with defeat in the 2019 World Cup final, was 52 not out. It was only the second fifty of the match after New Zealand opener Devon Conway's first-innings effort and followed Williamson's first-innings 49. Taylor, who hit the winning boundary, was unbeaten on 47. India's last hope of turning the tide evaporated when, with New Zealand 55 runs shy of victory at 84-2, Cheteshwar Pujara dropped a regulation slip catch off the luckless Jasprit Bumrah to reprieve Taylor on 26. Taylor finished-off the match when he whipped Mohammed Shami off his pads for four.