Black Caps smash world's top side

Tim Southee of New Zealand appeals successfully for the wicket of Ravichandran Ashwin of India...
Tim Southee of New Zealand appeals successfully for the wicket of Ravichandran Ashwin of India during day four of the First Test match between New Zealand and India at Basin Reserve on February 24, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Getty Images
Ninety years after their debut, and 64 after their first win, New Zealand have brought up their century of test triumphs with one of their most famous victories.

Two of the country's greatest bowlers inspired the Black Caps' 10-wicket win over India in Wellington today – the 100th time New Zealand have tasted the sweet success of victory in cricket's most treasured format.

Of those 99 previous wins, over those 90 long years, few have been more impressive than this one.

India came into this match as test cricket's undisputed world No 1 – a team that had ruled all comers in the Test Championship to claim a record seven straight victories, all by emphatic margins that underlined just how dominant a side they were.

And yet, juggernaut or not, a trip to New Zealand left India with the same result that most touring teams receive these days – a demoralising defeat.

New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell celebrates with teammates after taking a catch to dismiss India's...
New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell celebrates with teammates after taking a catch to dismiss India's Jasprit Bumrah. Photo: Reuters

It's now 12 tests in a row without defeat at home for the Black Caps, and the fact that a dominant victory over the world No 1 side doesn't come as a completely seismic shock is a testament to just how far this side has come over recent years.

In 2002 – 72 years after they made their test entrance – New Zealand reached 50 test victories. 18 years later, they've doubled that, with 32 victories coming in the past 10 years alone. When playing at home, even the best teams in the world struggle against the Black Caps' mastery of their conditions; a fact proven once again today as Trent Boult and Tim Southee inspired something special.

Resuming at 144-4, trailing by 39 runs, India still had hope of salvaging something from the test, with accomplished batsmen at the crease in Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari, both of whom had looked comfortable in getting through to stumps unscathed the night before.

But, in pristine conditions at the Basin Reserve, neither had any answers for the similarly immaculate bowling of New Zealand's greatest fast bowling duo.

It took just three overs for Boult to remove Rahane with a delivery that demanded a shot, but seamed away just enough to tickle the outside edge, before Southee suckered Vihari with a beautiful outswinger-outswinger-inswinger combination to rattle his stumps in the following over.

If their batsmen couldn't handle what was coming their way, then India's bowlers had no chance. Ravichandran Ashwin was trapped in front by Southee, while wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant picked out the safe hands of Boult in the deep from Southee's bowling as India were cleaned up for 191 – Southee ending with 5-61, and Boult 4-39.

It left only nine runs required for the Black Caps openers, and Tom Latham and Tom Blundell needed just 10 balls to complete a historic victory.

Sixty-four years on from the delirious scenes of their first test triumph, there was no need to rush the field or salvage a stump; nor even any particular awe at what had been accomplished - for the players, this was just another win.

Don't let their typically understated reaction fool you, though. This victory was well worth the famous milestone it accompanies – New Zealand have reached their century, and there have been few better moments than this.

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