The World Test Championship (WTC) final will mark the resumption of the India vs New Zealand rivalry in the longer format of the game. The summit clash of the WTC is all set to be played in Southampton from June 18-22.
India qualified for the WTC final by defeating England 3-1 in a Test series at home. New Zealand’s path to the final was confirmed after Australia’s tour of South Africa was canceled over COVID-19 concerns. Earlier, New Zealand had registered impressive home series wins over West Indies and Pakistan.
India and New Zealand have faced each other in 59 Tests so far. India have the advantage over the Kiwis, having won 21 Tests, while New Zealand have been victorious in 12 games.
India vs New Zealand Tests have ended in a stalemate 26 times.
Memorable India vs New Zealand Test encounters
With the India vs New Zealand WTC final clash set to be held next month, we look at some memorable Test encounters between the two teams.
#3 India vs New Zealand 1st Test - February 2014 (in Auckland)
Brief scores: New Zealand (503 & 105) beat India (202 & 366) by 40 runs
In a tightly contested India vs New Zealand encounter in Auckland in 2014, the Kiwis thwarted a defiant Indian fightback to clinch the first Test of the two-match series by 40 runs.
India won the toss and sent New Zealand into bat. It was a decision they were to regret, though, as the hosts amassed a massive 503 on the board.
Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum led from the front with an attacking double hundred. He struck 29 fours and five sixes in his 224.
Kane Williamson scored 113 while Corey Anderson contributed a swift 77 as the Indian bowlers failed to make much of an impact on the Kiwis.
India were rolled over for 202 in response, with Rohit Sharma (72) being the only batsman to cross the half-century mark. Neil Wagner (4/64) was the most successful New Zealand bowler even as Trent Boult and Tim Southee combined to pick up the other six wickets that fell.
The match seemed firmly in favor of New Zealand at the halfway stage. However, the Indian bowlers hit back hard and held the hosts to 105 in their second innings. Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma both picked up three scalps each.
Despite the Indian bowlers’ commendable fightback, the visitors still had a daunting task on hand as they had to chase 407 for victory.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan (115) made a fighting century and Virat Kohli contributed 67. However, India went down by 40 runs in the end as Wagner claimed another four-for, while Boult and Southee took three wickets apiece.
#2 India vs New Zealand 1st Test - September 1969 (in Mumbai)
Brief Scores: India (156 & 260) beat New Zealand (229 & 127) by 60 runs
In the first India vs New Zealand Test of the three-match series in 1969, the hosts defeated New Zealand by 60 runs in Mumbai. It was a low-scoring encounter at the Brabourne Stadium dominated by bowlers.
India won the toss and batted first. However, the hosts managed to put just 156 on the board, with Ajit Wadekar the top-scorer (49). Dayle Hadlee and Bevan Congdon each picked up three wickets for the Kiwis.
Congdon starred with the bat as well, scoring 78. India’s bowlers, though, did well to restrict New Zealand to 229 as no other batsman could manage a big score.
Erapalli Prasanna was the chief wicket-taker in New Zealand’s first innings, claiming 4 for 97, while Bishan Bedi and Ajit Pai managed two scalps each.
Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi played a captain’s knock of 67 in the second innings and Wadekar contributed another crucial 40 as India put up a competitive 260.
New Zealand were set an attainable 188 for victory, but Bedi (6/42) and Prasanna (4/74) spun a web around the Kiwi batsmen. The visitors folded for 127 in 69.5 overs as India won the contest with ease.
#1 India vs New Zealand 1st Test - February 1968 (in Dunedin)
Brief scores: New Zealand (350 & 208) lost to India (359 & 200/5) by five wickets
In the first India vs New Zealand Test of the three-match series in 1968, the visitors notched up one of their most famous overseas wins in Dunedin. India came up with a highly clinical effort to register a five-wicket win.
New Zealand put up an impressive 350 on the board after winning the toss and batting first. Graham Dowling scored a memorable 143 while Bevan Congdon chipped in with 58. Syed Abid Ali was India’s most successful bowler with 4 for 26.
Despite Dick Motz’s five-for, India were highly competent in response as they managed to put up a total of 359. Ajit Wadekar top-scored for India with 80 and Farokh Engineer made a well-compiled 63. Good contributions from everyone saw India surpass New Zealand’s first-innings total.
Off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna then gave India the upper hand by taking 6 for 94 in New Zealand’s second innings. Kiwi opener Bruce Murray chipped in with 54, but the hosts could only manage 208, having batted for 104 overs.
India were set a challenging 200 for victory. However, Wadekar’s sparkling 71 and Rusi Surti’s 44 lifted them to a memorable triumph and gave them a crucial 1-0 lead in the four-match series.
The win was historic as it was India’s first overseas Test triumph.