Opinion: Blackcaps' World Test Championship final player ratings

OPINION: How the Blackcaps rated out of 10 against India in the inaugural World Test Championship final at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl.

Tom Latham 6.5

It was a matter of how and not how many runs for Latham, who batted brilliantly against India’s new-ball attack to get to 30 in the first innings, but then threw it away against the spin of Ravichandran Ashwin. Only added another nine runs in the second.

Took three very good catches in the first innings and two more in the second, including the dangerous Mohammed Shami, as he looked to score quick runs.

Devon Conway 7.5

He top-scored across the entire World Test Championship final with his first-innings 54, as Conway continued his brilliant start to red-ball cricket. Slightly worrying signs, as he got out to the legside ‘flick’ shot for the second time in his last three innings.

Another 19 in the second innings got the Blackcaps off to a great start in their chase of 139, but there’s still so much more to come from New Zealand’s freshest face.

Kane Williamson 10

You run out of superlatives to describe Williamson as a cricketer.

Williamson will make higher scores than his first-innings 49, but you'll struggle to see the New Zealand captain bat with as much character. Williamson ground out a marathon 177-ball effort and spent nearly five hours at the crease, all with an injured elbow.

If that wasn't enough, Williamson led the way to victory with 52 not out in New Zealand's chase, finishing with 101 runs for the match.

Arguably, his most impressive performance came as captain. Williamson was excellent in both Indian innings - his field placements were at times inspired, highlighted by the decision to bring Latham in as a fly slip to Shami, reaping rewards instantly.

There is no more deserving person to lift the inaugural World Test Championship mace.

Ross Taylor 8

If New Zealand go another 21 years without winning a trophy, the image of Ross Taylor whipping Shami to seal the eight-wicket victory needs to be on t-shirts, mugs, stamps, postcards and whatever else it'll fit on.

Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson celebrate victory
Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson celebrate victory. Photo credit: Getty

Admittedly, Taylor fell for a disappointing 11, after doing all of the hard work on the morning of day five, but more than made up for it with 47 not out in the second dig.

After the losses of Latham and Conway, Taylor steadied New Zealand and combined with Williamson for an unbeaten 96 runs to guide the Blackcaps to glory.

Throw in another three catches at first slip - including India's rock Cheteshwar Pujara on day six - and Taylor finished with a fine test match.

Henry Nicholls 6

Played an exceptional cut shot, but couldn't add any more, as he fell for seven in the first innings, but Nicholls' overriding contribution to this victory was the incredible catch to dismiss Rishabh Pant for 41.

If Nicholls didn't take that, who knows how many runs New Zealand would have to chase or how much time they’d have to do it in.

BJ Watling 7.5

Could only manage one run with the bat in the first innings of his farewell test, but was outstanding behind the stumps.

BJ Watling has his finger repaired
BJ Watling has his finger repaired. Photo credit: Getty

Watling was crisp with the gloves, not conceding a single bye in India's first innings, and carried on keeping in the second innings, after some friendly fire from Williamson left him with a dislocated finger.

A fine farewell for one of the true greats of New Zealand cricket.

Colin de Grandhomme 5

Was unlucky to go wicketless in the first innings, but did well in support of the four frontline quicks, as they bowled India out on day three.

He made only 13 runs with the bat, but gave Williamson valuable support in the first innings, as the Blackcaps snuck in front.

Kyle Jamieson 10

On his way to becoming a New Zealand great. His five wickets in the first innings destroyed any chance of a big total for India, before taking the mickey with a rapid 21 runs from 16 balls with the bat - the highest strike rate of the match.

He then backed it up on the morning of day six with the wickets of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, opening the door for NZ's push for victory. 

Seven wickets in the match was the best of any bowler from either side at Southampton - deservedly awarded Man of the Match for his trouble. 

Tim Southee 8

Exceptional with the ball at the start of the second innings, removing both Indian openers, and his 30 runs were another key factor in New Zealand’s first-innings lead. 

Marks down for dropping two catches across both Indian innings - including the crucial scalp of Pant in the second dig - but made up for it with figures of 4/48.

Neil Wagner 7

Bowled well in conditions that didn't really suit his standard approach of bouncing the life out of any batsman unlucky enough to face him.

He got Ajinkya Rahane out for an innings-high 49 first up and then snared Ravindra Jadeja, as India looked to build their lead.

There were worries over an injured knee late on day five, but Wagner toughed it out to send down 15 overs.

Trent Boult  7.5

Didn't quite look at his best with the ball first up, but still claimed some important wickets, including Pujara in India's first innings.

Broke India's back in the second innings by dismissing Pant and then getting Ashwin - the last recognised pair - in the space of two balls.

Also produced one of the most ridiculous shots of the test, when he somehow flat-batted Shami - India's best bowler - over mid-on for four in the first innings. 

Alex Powell is a Newshub digital sports producer, now recovering from six sleepless nights