The inaugural World Test Championship saw a number of challenges over the past two years, seeing off weird competition format, Covid-19 challenges and cancelled matches to reach its culmination, which is the final between India and New Zealand, two sides led by two of the best captains of their generation.
New Zealand are led by Kane Williamson, who led the Kiwis to this point following their painful World Cup final loss in 2019. Instead of letting it all crumble, the side from Down Under chose to go up north in the longest format. It wasn’t easy though, as their did not win any of their first two series of the Test Championship, first drawing 1-1 to Sri Lanka and then losing to Australia 3-0.
From that point, they were required to be nearly flawless, and they did exactly that, beating India, Pakistan and West Indies – all by identical margins of 2-0. That sealed their qualification.
They set up a series against England as tune up for the final, and as fate would have it, after the drawn first Test, they won the second Test and the series at the same venue where the final against India is to be played.
Kane Williamson and BJ Watling were reported to be carrying a niggle or two during the England series but the word is that both have recovered to give the Kiwis a clean bill of health.
India’s road to the final began with three straight 2-0 Test series wins over the West Indies, South Africa and then Bangladesh. The only blemish on their otherwise pristine CV was their 2-0 defeat to none other than New Zealand in New Zealand.
The highlight of their campaign came when they defeated a full strength Australian team 3-1 away from home despite missing several regulars. Then there was the home series against England, which they came from behind to win 3-1.
India will be at a slight disadvantage as unlike New Zealand, they have not played a Test in England and may not be as comfortable and used to the conditions as their opponents.
The Indian camp also has no known injuries, meaning that both the sides would likely field their first choice line-ups.