While the ongoing fourth and final Test between India and Australia is heading for a draw, the contest between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in Christchurch ended, with the Black Caps winning the match and paving the way for Team India to book their spot in the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
New Zealand needed 285 runs to register a victory in the first Test. The hosts were, however, in a spot of bother after losing three wickets for 90, but former skipper Kane Williamson and centurion of the first innings Daryl Mitchell steadied the ship and took the game away from the Islanders.
The duo of Williamson and Mitchell put together a match-winning partnership of 142 runs for the fourth wicket. Mitchell was dismissed for a well-made 81 runs, including 3 fours and 4 sixes. Williamson, on the other hand, kept his cool and took his team over the line. The former Black Caps skipper also smashed his 27th century in the process. The right-handed batter remained unbeaten on 121 off 194 deliveries as New Zealand won the contest by two wickets.
Earlier, New Zealand won the toss and decided to bowl first. The tourists managed to post 355 in their first innings, thanks to crucial contributions from Kusal Mendis and captain Dimuth Karunaratne. While Mendis top-socred with 87 runs off 83 deliveries, including 16 boundaries, Karunaratne smashed 50 0ff 87. Tim Southee and Matt Henry were the pick of the bowlers for the home team, taking 5/64 and 4/80, respectively.
In response, New Zealand scored 373, taking only a lead of 18 runs. Opener Tom Latham slammed a vital fifty, scoring 67 off 144 balls. However, it was Mitchell who stole the show, smashing a brilliant hundred. The all-rounder went on to score 102 runs off 193 balls, including 8 boundaries. Asitha Fernando was the standout bowler for Sri Lanka, taking 4/85.
Trailing by only 18 runs, the touring party were packed for 302, giving New Zealand 285 runs to win the match. Veteran Angelo Matthews stood up for the Lankans, scoring 115 runs off 235 balls, including 11 boundaries. Dhananjaya de Silva also played a handy knock of unbeaten 47 runs. Blair Tickner was the star with the ball for the hosts, picking up 4 for 100.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
India have qualified for the World Test Championship final!
They’ll take on Australia at The Oval for the #WTC23 mace!
— ICC (@ICC) March 13, 2023
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) March 13, 2023
World Test Championship final. June 7-11. #IndiavsAustralia.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 13, 2023
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) March 13, 2023
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) March 13, 2023
Outstanding from Kane Williamson. Another spectacular end to a test match. I hope Asitha Fernando gets to play much more Test cricket.
— Ian Raphael Bishop (@irbishi) March 13, 2023
A few weeks after winning a Test by one run, New Zealand have just won another one by 3cm. Incredible. #NZvSL
— Scott Bailey (@ScottBaileyAAP) March 13, 2023
— CricketTimes.com (@CricketTimesHQ) March 13, 2023
A similar result in a Test match happened at Kingsmead, Durban on 20 Dec 1948, when England’s lower order bat Cliff Gladwin ran a leg-bye off the final ball of the match as England beat South Africa by 2 wickets!#EngvSA #SAvEng
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) March 13, 2023
Test centuries for Fab Four
— Deepu Narayanan (@deeputalks) March 13, 2023
INDIA QUALIFIED INTO THE WTC FINAL.
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) March 13, 2023
Thank you New Zealand! You’ve helped India qualify for the WTC final #NZvSL
— North Stand Gang (@NorthStandGang) March 13, 2023
Kane Williamson… you legend! #NZvSL
— Chetan Narula (@chetannarula) March 13, 2023
— 🏏Flashscore Cricket Commentators (@FlashCric) March 13, 2023
– Won the test by 1 run against England
– Won the test by 2 wickets against Sri Lanka
– Kane Williamson scored 132 in the second innings of New Zealand against England
– Kane Williamson scored 121* in the second innings of New Zealand against Sri Lanka pic.twitter.com/TYe4xIz826
— Cricketopia (@CricketopiaCom) March 13, 2023