Black Caps on top of the world | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 07, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:42 AM, January 07, 2021

Black Caps on top of the world

New Zealand stood on the shoulders of a giant to complete an emphatic clean sweep of their Test summer and make official their No 1 ranking in the world.

Kyle Jamieson took his second five-wicket haul of the match as the Black Caps beat Pakistan by an innings and 176 runs in the second Test on Wednesday to sweep the series 2-0. At home they remained almost unstoppable as they also secured 2-0 victories against India and West Indies.

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Their only remaining mountain to climb is a place in the World Test Championship final scheduled for Lord's in June, but they can do nothing but sit back and wait to see if India and/or Australia can remain ahead of them.

New Zealand are enjoying a golden period in their cricketing history. After having made to two successive ICC Men's Cricket World Cup finals, they have now climbed to the top of the ICC Test Team Rankings for the first time ever.

Their Test team has been a truly dominant force in recent years, achieving noteworthy victories both overseas and at home.

In an era of flashy superstars, Kane Williamson is a throwback to the old-fashioned copybook cricketer who oozes class every time he takes the crease. Such is the brilliance of Williamson that not only is he the captain and fulcrum of the New Zealand batting order, but also the current No.1 Test batsman in the world, upstaging Virat Kohli and Steve Smith in the final ICC Rankings update for 2020. Williamson leapfrogged that formidable duo with three centuries, including two double centuries in his last six innings.

The meteoric rise of Kyle Jamieson as the fourth pillar of the New Zealand bowling unit has added a new dimension and strength to this already talented attack. The opposition knew full well the threat the 2.03m quick possessed. "Jamieson bowled very well. He was the only difference between the two teams," Pakistan captain Mohammad Rizwan said. "Conditions favoured the bowlers but he bowled very well and took too many wickets in this series."

Jamieson insisted he was very much the "fourth prong" in New Zealand's formidable pace attack.

"We've got the four-prong attack and I consider myself very much the fourth prong. I just try and sit back and learn what these world class guys (Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Matt Henry) have done for many years," the 26-year-old said.

New Zealand have ended their World Test Championship campaign with a percentage of .700. Australia and India sit at .767 and .722 but are halfway through a series that will alter those numbers.

"I'll watch some of it when I'm perhaps feeding my baby girl or changing nappies," captain Kane Williamson said with a smile. "We can't control that [series], but it'd be nice if things fell our way."

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