By John Mehaffey
SOUTHAMPTON, England (Reuters) - New Zealand captain Kane Williamson expressed both relief and satisfaction after his team defeated India by eight wickets in the inaugural World Test Championship (WCT) final on Wednesday after losing successive one-day finals.
Australia thrashed the New Zealanders at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2015 after they had finally qualified for a final after losing six semis.
Two years ago they lost to England in an agonising finish at Lord’s because they had hit fewer boundaries after the teams were tied after both 50 overs and the subsequent super over.
On Wednesday New Zealand finally triumphed in a global final with Williamson unbeaten on 52 after a painstaking 49 in the first innings on a pitch which favoured the bowlers throughout with two days lost to rain.
"It’s certainly a slightly different feeling being on the right side of the result," Williamson told a news conference.
"The first semi-final was one-sided, the second one was pretty interesting.
"It was the first official world test championship, that’s a really good feeling. Both teams knew coming into the last day there were three possible results -- win, lose or draw and we saw that things could happen quickly."
An unbeaten winning partnership of 96 was finally compiled under bright sunlight by Williamson and New Zealand’s highest test run scorer Ross Taylor (47 not out) who fought hard after openers Tom Latham and Devon Conway fell in quick succession to off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Kyle Jamieson, the towering New Zealand pace bowler who has made a immense impact since his test debut against India last year, was named man-of-the-match after taking five for 31 in India’s first innings and two for 30 in the second plus an aggressive 21 with the bat in a low-scoring match.
Crucially, he dismissed Virat Kohli in both innings and the game swung decisively in New Zealand’s favour when the Indian captain was caught behind for 13 in the first hour of play on Wednesday’s sixth day.
Kohli accepted New Zealand had been the better side but added he was not in favour of one-off five-day finals.
"It has to be a test of character over three tests which give you the ability to come back into the series," he said.
"You really see who is the better side over the course of a three-match series."
(Reporting by John Mehaffey, editing by Ed Osmond)