whips this off his pads to the square leg boundary, New Zealand are the inaugural World Test Champions! How apt that it's Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson who've steered them home. Stirring win, the entire team huddles together in the dressing room in jubilation.
7.15pm The New Zealand players get their hands on the mace, finally, and fireworks light up a still bright evening sky in Southampton. The one time you might have wished for a bit of bad light.
What a match we've had. A pitch that gave us a result even though two entire days were washed out, and excellent foresight - we must now acknowledge - from the ICC, to have this sixth day in reserve. Two superb teams who both played terrific cricket, but New Zealand were definitely the better team on this occasion, with more fast-bowling depth, the greater ability to swing the Dukes ball, and a more robust lower order.
Ravi Shastri said before this match that this, the World Test Championship, is now the "big daddy" of ICC titles, and what a feeling it must be for New Zealand to get their hands on it before anyone else. Let's hope this first cycle gives way to a better, more equitable distribution of Test cricket around the teams that play it, and at the very least for New Zealand - they're world champions, after all - to get longer series much more often than they currently do.
All that's for the future. Now it's time to celebrate - not just for New Zealand but for everyone who loves this sport, this brilliant 144-year-old sport, the greatest sport in the world. We hope you enjoyed our coverage. It's been a pleasure bringing it to you - all of it, even the rain breaks. So from myself, Shashank, Chandan and Alan, and everyone else on the ESPNcricinfo team, it's the warmest of goodbyes.
Kane Williamson: "Very special feeling, a couple of close ones [in ICC finals], nice to get one under the belt. I'd like to thank Virat and the Indian team, they're an incredible team, we know how much of a challenge it would be. It was great, the heart our team showed to get across the line, great Test match. I've been part of [NZ cricket] for a short while, it's a very special feeling, the first time in our history we've come away with a world title. We've had 22 players over the last two years, and they've all played their part and the support staff and the guys who played this match, it's a special achievement to be savoured. We know we don't always have the stars, we rely on other bits and pieces to stay in the game and be competitive. We saw a lot of heart and commitment to our style of cricket in this game, we know how strong this Indian side is, in all conditions. It's not always easy in a final, a one-off Test match, we respect that, and throughout all six days, it ebbed and flowed, no one really got the upper hand, and it came to the last day which was great for the fans. That was tough [batting in the first innings]. Amazing attack, they don't give you much to hit. We saw a lot of heart from the lower order who came in and tried to inch us into some sort of lead. It was a very sporting surface, and having only four days' cricket, there was always a chande of a result. Ross is very experienced and very calm in those sort of situations, it was nice to be in partnership with Ross and be there at the end. A special feeling we haven't had before. [BJ Watling] I don't know if he's retiring anymore, actually [chuckles]. He's a special member, a leader in our group, and really epitomises our team. A scrappy performance, which is close to his heart, because he's a scrappy player. A great occasion to celebrate, a great game of cricket, and obviously a great career which we'll celebrate."
Virat Kohli: "First up, big congratulations to Kane and the whole team. They showed great consistency and heart to pull out a result in just over three days, sticking to their processes to put us under pressure. They deserved the win. The first day got washed out, and when play resumed it was difficult to get any momentum. We lost only three wickets, but we could have got more runs if play had gone on without the interruptions. Today, the Kiwi bowlers executed their plans to perfection and pushed us back, and we were probably 30 or 40 runs short. [On not picking four quicks:] You need to have a fast-bowling allrounder for that. We've been successful with this combination in different conditions. We thought this was our best combination, and we had batting depth as well, and if there was more game time, the spinners would have come into the game more as well. [Jamieson] is a quality cricketer. He hits really good areas with the ball and he's a gutsy batsman as well. He's had a great game and thoroughly deserved to be Man of the Match. It's great for the game, the more the Test format is given importance, and the Test format is the heartbeat of the international format. We're looking forward to the long summer ahead. We've got the squad and the quality to do something special."
Kyle Jamieson is the Player of the Match.: "To have something of this context in Test cricket is massive, and to be standing up here is surreal. We knew we had a big first hour, and just to see how things panned out. We were hopeful they might pan out our way if we put the ball in the right place, but we knew this is a quality Indian team as well. It was nice to get the ball first up and to play a part, I guess. The work that Tim, Trent, Wags do, I just ride in on the back of that. It was good to bowl in the nets to him [Kohli at RCB], and to be here and go up against him over the last six days was awesome."
Thanks, Shashank. What a great moment that was, Ross Taylor, the seniormost member of this team, who's been there every step of their journey, whipping the winning runs over square leg.
Our post-match show ESPNcricinfo Match Day is now live. Watch Dale Steyn and Sanjay Manjrekar analyse the WTC final. Hop over to our homepage. And now over to the presentation, for which I'll hand over to KK once more.
The retiring BJ Watling: "Ecstatic. Been a lot of hard work over a long period of time as a group. To get over the line is special. Chasing a total like that on a wicket that was offering a bit, was special from two of our greatest. No, I didn't imagine I'd end as a World Test Champion. My family back home, my mum has stood up for me in tough times, my wife Jess and the two boys - a thank you to all of them. It's been a hell of a journey. Huge support over the years from my mates. We've got a special group, this is a great way to finish."
Mike : "Pulled an all nighter here in New Zealand, couldn't be prouder. Definitely the best moment for NZ cricket fans. Now time for a cuppa and off to work! "
Ragha: "This has been a great exhibition of test cricket and thanks to the rain gods for making it this thrilling. Well played NZ and no shame loosing to this VK"
Ross Taylor: "Still sinking in but it's been a couple of years coming. Lot of rain but the way the team fought from day one, to be out there in a crucial situation for a little bit, it's something I'll never forget. This would have to be the highlight of my career. At the start of my career, I felt we probably didn't have the side to do this. But am sure there are a few Kiwis waking up who will be very proud. There was a lot of pressure, it was nice to be standing up to it. 2019 World Cup was something that was very tough for us at the time, but this makes up for that. Over time, it'll sink in a little more."
Dipanjan Show: "This match was a cracker in more than a few ways. What a tense final day of the final we had today. I always though it was going to be a draw, but the kiwis exceeded my expectations. Couldn't be any happier!"
Tim Southee: "We started this journey two years ago. To be sitting here as champions is special. There's a lot of hard work that has gone into it. Consistency comes to mind: consistency through performances, consistency in selection. We do a lot for each other. It's satisfying to achieve what we have. The turnaround dates back to beyond the last couple of years. The change room was a lot calmer knowing we had two experienced guys out there. Probably the longest 139 runs I've experienced. I think as any international sports person, you want to look for ways to get better. That's what I've gone. This group has pushed each other to get special, work on skills and fitness. BJ Watling sums up what this team means, we wanted to send him off with a win at the start of the tour. He's been a tremendous part of the side, he's given this team everything he's had, couldn't be happier for him."
6.35pm Terrific moment right at the end. Williamson went over to Kohli, who embraced him with a warm hug. They're good mates, have had admirable respect for each other and it's great to see that camaraderie shine through.
While the focus is on Williamson and Taylor, what a way to say goodbye to BJ Watling, who has been a tireless and exemplary cricketer for New Zealand. He dislocated his finger early in the day, but even that couldn't stop him from continuing to keep. Now, he'll get his hands on the ICC WTC Mace.
The New Zealand team applauds the crowd, many of whom have been vocal in their support all day. The supporters are waving that flag. Boy, have they been loud or what? Also, while we acknowledge the players, huge credit also to the ground staff and the entire team at Ageas Bowl for ensuring we got as much play as possible over the last couple of days.
6.30pm "New Zealand began the final day needing eight wickets before they could get to bat and knock off the runs. A target of 139 in 53 overs wasn't exactly a cake walk: the previous three innings had gone at 2.35, 2.5 and 2.32 an over, and India were not laying anything on the platter. By the time R Ashwin took out both the openers, they had managed just 44 in 17.2 overs. A lesser batting unit might even have taken a risk here and given India a window, but the old firm of Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson took them home with a calm yet urgent and unbeaten partnership of 96 in 28.3 overs." Snippets from Sidharth Monga's bulletin that will be up soon.
short of length outside off from wide of the crease, left alone
Can Ross Taylor finish it off now?
gently dabs this wide of third slip as they scamper a quick single
beaten as he pokes at this away-going delivery
stabs it away to the off side
lifter from outside off, left alone
turns this incoming length ball into the leg side
ah, so nearly rolled back onto the stumps! Taylor pushes at this incoming delivery without any conviction
edged, this races into the gap past third slip for two more
Ishant is going off, looks like he's taken a blow on the finger in trying to stop that. The physio was out to assist him but it looks like he'll only walk back with him to the dressing room now.
driven back hard, good stop off his own bowling
full but way down leg, on the bounce to Pant as Taylor misses the flick
half-century for the skipper! This is short again, he gets into position quickly and pulls him away all along the ground to the square leg boundary
dropped! Bumrah has made a right royal mess of that. Williamson goes for glory, a hoick across the line but only manages a leading edge and Bumrah, running back from backward point was never in control. Wasn't in position to take that. Through his hands
tight line on middle, defended back
slips this length ball down leg, on the bounce to Pant
pulled away from way outside off, gets it into the gap at deep square leg. Didn't get hold of it entirely but he'll take two more
punched uppishly, just short of point
scoring opportunity missed down leg. All Taylor needed to get was a faint tickle to beat the keeper to the fine leg boundary
width outside off and he flays this away into the gap at cover point
whipped over midwicket in majestic fashion! Ishant bowls a leg-stump half-volley and Williamson brings his wrist work into play to pick that up and over