Stead hails ‘truly inspirational’ Williamson, Taylor after Black Caps’ WTC triumph | 1 NEWS

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The New Zealand coach paid tribute to many for this morning’s timeless moment in Southampton.
Source: Breakfast


When the Black Caps were reduced to 44/2 by India this morning in the World Test Championship final, coach Gary Stead admits he was slightly nervous for his men in Southampton.

The Black Caps required just 139 runs to lift the mace after another stellar performance from the bowling attack on the lively pitch but the runs weren’t easy to come between India’s determined response and the testing conditions.

With openers Devon Conway and Tom Latham both dismissed within five overs of each other, Stead told Breakfast his stomach was beginning to swirl.

“I think everyone gets a little bit tight and anxious in those moments,” Stead said.

“I think that’s just natural and shows how much the team cares about it.”

His unrest was soon eased though with the ever-reliable duo of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor – New Zealand’s top-scoring partnership in Test cricket history – settled in at the crease and eventually brought the title home.

Williamson carved out an impressive 52 runs off 89 deliveries with eight boundaries to his name while Taylor, perhaps in his last Test appearance, reached 47 and scored the winning runs with a four to square leg.

Stead had nothing but praise for the pair.

“Ross and Kane, the partnership that they put together to get us home was truly inspirational on a really, really tough wicket to bat on.

“It was really, really special.”

In a way, it was almost the perfect finish for the two who held such high places in New Zealand cricket folklore but had little silverware to show for it.

“Ross has been around the longest out of anyone in our team here and in his words, he said he’s been through some pretty dark times as well,” Stead said.

“To come through and get to the other side of this – we’ve had some really close calls the last four or five years but to now get that monkey off our backs is really special and we’re really proud of the efforts that have gone in.”

Stead also paid tribute to other Black Caps, particularly those who weren’t in Southampton to celebrate the historic moment but played a part in getting them there.

“It’s been years and years of hard work that have got us to where we are now.

“It’s not just the players here – it’s people that have come before us and pitched in and done a lot for this team and set the culture for us.

“We’re reaping the rewards of being very consistent over a long period of time.”

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