Top 5 magical moments of the first World Test Championship | What were the best moments in the first World Test Championship between 2019 and 2021?
The World Test Championship (WTC) finally came to an end with New Zealand emerging as the first ever winner of the championship defeating India convincingly in the final played at Southampton. The championship was played over two years and we saw some thrilling contests between various sides.
If we look back at the first ever WTC, there were some really great moments throughout the cycle. In this article, I am going to make you relive five such magical moments of the first WTC that will be etched in our memory forever. Here we go.
5. Kyle Mayers’ debut double ton to help West Indies chase 395 vs Bangladesh
It’s definitely not easy to defeat Bangladesh in their own backyard. But a young West Indies side, missing a number of key players including Jason Holder, were able to defeat the tigers in a convincing manner due to some heroic performances by their young players.
Debutant Kyle Mayers was a major name in that list.
He was instrumental in his team’s win in the first Test at Chittagong, as he played a magnificent unbeaten knock of 210, helping West Indies chase down a mammoth total of 395 in the fourth innings. This victory was definitely one of the finest Test victories of the West Indies in recent years, and the winning moment was as magical as it could be.
4. The grand comeback of Steve Smith
The mental toughness of an individual is reflected from the way he bounces back after being placed under the pump. Steven Smith was handed a 1-year ban due to his involvement in the infamous ball tampering incident in the Cape Town Test back in 2018. When he returned to the Australian side to play the 2019 Ashes in England, there was so much psychological pressure on him and so much speculation regarding his form.
But, he silenced everyone in the very first game of the Ashes – also the first in WTC – by playing tremendous knocks of 144 and 142 at Edgbaston. Boos turned into standing ovations. He never looked back and amassed a huge 774 runs in the Ashes. Every time he went to bat, it seemed like he wanted to prove himself to the world. The hunger to score as many runs as possible was clearly visible in him. The world saw the vintage Steven Smith once again at his absolute best and this was definitely one of the finest moments of the first WTC.
3. Ben Stokes’ Headingley masterclass
“Cut away. Cut away for four. What an innings. What a player. Take a bow, Ben Stokes. The Ashes are well and truly alive because of one cricketer.”
We can’t forget these legendary lines by Nasser Hussain after Ben Stokes scored the winning runs in the third Ashes Test at Headingley. England were on the verge of defeat as they were placed at 286 for 9 chasing 359. That epic partnership of 76 runs between Stokes and Jack Leach for the last wicket sealed England’s highest run-chase ever in their rich history. Ben Stokes was absolutely magnificent in the fourth innings as he played a glorious unbeaten knock of 135. The game had some nail-biting moments including the brain-fade moments from the Australian side as well; like wasting of a review and a missed run-out opportunity. The winning moment of the English side was purely magical and this game will forever be remembered as one of the greatest clashes between the arch-rivals Australia and England.
2. India breach the Gabba fortress
The winning moment at the Gabba by the Indian side is the finest ever moment I have witnessed as an Indian fan in the first WTC. India were out for 36 in Adelaide, devoid of their best batsman Virat Kohli, players got injured one by one, and the players copped abuse by the SCG crowd. It was a completely inexperienced side to fight with the mighty Aussies in the 4th Test match at Gabba.
Added to these things, Australia hadn’t lost a single game there in 32 years. In such a critical period, Ajinkya Rahane led the team to perfection. The experienced Cheteshwar Pujara took many blows on his body and stood in the middle like a rock. More importantly, the young players like Mohammed Siraj, Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar, Rishabh Pant and Shardul Thakur stepped up big time, which made the victory even more special in the history of Indian Cricket. That boundary by Rishabh Pant towards the long off fence and the entire team running into the middle with joy was definitely the best moment for all of the Indian fans in the WTC.
1. New Zealand lift first ICC trophy in more than 20 years
The Kiwis are known for their extraordinary consistency in ICC tournaments. However, they hadn’t managed to win a single trophy after their victory in the final of the ICC Knockout Trophy back in 2000. But, this time they managed to break the jinx and were able to lift the respectable WTC mace by winning the ultimate Test against India at Southampton.
The game was interrupted badly by rain and bad light, and therefore there was a slim chance of getting a single winner. But, on the reserve day, the Kiwi fast bowling unit led by Kyle Jamieson went through the Indian batting order and New Zealand managed to bundle India out for a mere 170. They were given a target of just 139 in 53 overs, which they chased down quite comfortably thanks to an outstanding partnership of 96 runs between the two pillars of their batting unit, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor.
Williamson led his side in the most ideal manner and set the example of a true leader by batting his heart out in the middle in both innings. Their fast bowling unit comprising of Boult, Jamieson, Southee and Wagner was relentless and never let the Indian batsmen score easy runs. They were truly the deserving winners and the winning moment of New Zealand was definitely the finest moment of the WTC.
So, these are the 5 finest magical moments in the first ever WTC in my opinion. Do you agree? Have your say!
Written by Debashish Sarangi. Follow Debashish on Twitter today.