World Test Championship final: World reacts to Blackcaps victory over India

  • 24/06/2021

Cricket scribes across the globe have waxed lyrical over the Blackcaps' World Test Championship triumph in Southampton, while social media has been equally abuzz in celebration of the sport's "nice guys".

Ali Martin - The Guardian

"Gone was the miserable rain that pushed this showpiece into a reserve day, the sun smiling on Williamson as he lifted the ICC's test mace in Southampton. The Blackcaps' commitment to whole-hearted, ego-free cricket and a collective purpose delivered the silverware they so richly deserve.

"This time there were no fluke deflections or obscure fine-print to deny them the glory, a fourth-innings target of 139 in 53 overs knocked off with seven to spare through a classy unbeaten 52 from Williamson, ice utterly running through his veins, and Ross Taylor’s typically grafted 47 not out from No. 4.

"The huge gulf in population between the two countries - five million compared with 1.4 billion - is perhaps overplayed, but with around a sixth of India's professional talent pool and annual revenues that sit on a par with a county cricket club such as Warwickshire, New Zealand's rise is still remarkable.

"Like Watling, Southee, Wagner, Boult et al, Williamson and Taylor have been central pillars to all this. It felt fitting, therefore, that this much-admired pair should come together for an unbroken stand of 96 and be there at the end of a long but rewarding final, one which ultimately delivered happier memories."

Matthew Henry - BBC sport

"This was test cricket at its best - a race for runs and wickets with the ticking clock adding further intrigue.

"Throughout it all, New Zealand, as is their style, managed to look typically calm, despite the noisy crowd of around 3000 spectators largely supporting their opposition."

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: "All that disappointment of the World Cup two years ago is forgotten - at least for now.

"Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor faced a real battle when they came together. What a tremendous performance from New Zealand."

Former NZ captain Jeremy Coney calls the victory just reward for a champion team.

"New Zealand have been aiming for this for a long time, so it's the end of a long journey. 

"They have played their hearts out. It's a victory for discipline over a team with more flair.

"The conditions certainly suited New Zealand."

Mike Atherton - The Times UK

"Kane Williamson’s New Zealand are the world test champions. Sounds good, doesn't it? 

"A team who play with character, style and grace, and who have suffered some agonising near-misses in ICC events, stand tall as champions of the long-form game, having beaten their more-fancied opponents, India, on a day filled with tension, as time and overs ticked away.

"There was not the exquisite drama of two years ago at Lord’s, but this represented redemption for those who were involved in that World Cup final against England. 

"Unquestionably, this is the biggest moment in New Zealand’s cricketing history and it was fitting that two of their finest batsmen - Williamson and Ross Taylor - were in the middle together at the end.

Understandably, India's Hindu Times had a more bleak take on the match, focusing on another "failure" from captain Virat Kohli and his troops.

"For Virat Kohli, this is the third failure in big ICC events, after the 2017 Champions Trophy and the 2019 World Cup.

"India's revered superstars failed to dazzle on the 'D-Day', as New Zealand's canny operators and their classy skipper Kane Williamson deservingly walked away with the inaugural World Test Championship title, after a composed eight-wicket win in the final that exposed multiple frailties in Virat Kohli's team.

"Just like that overcast morning at the Old Trafford two years back, India's batsmen fluffed their morning lines against a familiar opposition, albeit with the red Dukes, and were skittled out for 170 on the best day for batting in a game marred by inclement weather.

"Perhaps the cricket Gods wanted a course correction for Williamson and his men, who were left high and dry during that evening at the Lord's, where twist of cruel fate and horrible rules robbed them of deserving glory in the 2019 World Cup.

"That was not to be the case on June 23, when their bowlers choked India, who seemed to be in pursuit of a draw to lay their hands on the glittering mace."

Meanwhile, Blackcaps past and present took special satisfaction from the victory.

Other former greats of the game - including arguably the greatest - also paid tribute to the Kiwis.