The Black Caps have won cricket's inaugural World Test Championship.
New Zealand sealed an eight wicket win over India late on the sixth and final day of the final in Southampton, chasing down a second innings target of 139 to secure the title.
Veteran batsman Ross Taylor (47 not out) hit the winning runs for the Black Caps after sharing in an unbroken 96-run partnership with captain Kane Williamson, who finished unbeaten on 52.
"It would have to be the highlight (of my career) to say you're world champions," Taylor told Sky Sport.
"At the start of my career we probably didn't think we had the side that could do that but the way the team have built over the years, stuck together.
"This is probably for the fans over there and back home as well. They've stuck with us through thick and thin and hopefully there's a few Kiwis waking up that are very proud at the moment."
To Kane and all of the boys.— Brendon McCullum (@Bazmccullum) June 23, 2021
We love you ❤️
Williamson's half century was only the second of a low-scoring final and ensured the Black Caps can now be called world champions.
"It's a very special feeling. It's the first time in our history where we've come away with a world title," Williamson said.
"A special achievement and one that will be celebrated and remembered."
And it helped to ease the pain of the 2019 Cricket World Cup final, which New Zealand lost to England at Lord's on boundaries scored.
"2019 World Cup was something that was very tough for us at the time but this makes up for that in a long time," Taylor said.
So good @BLACKCAPS that has been a long time coming but that performance in the circumstances was worth the wait. We will always be the 1st World Test Champions.. A great group of players,staff & management enjoy #Testcricketisthebest— Craig McMillan (@cmacca10) June 23, 2021
It was apt that Williamson and Taylor guided New Zealand home, given they are the country's leading runscorers in test cricket.
"The changing room was a lot calmer knowing you've got two experienced guys out there," opening bowler Tim Southee said.
"It was probably the longest 139 runs I've ever experienced but it was nice to know you've got two quality players and two experienced guys out there in the middle so that did make it a little bit easier watching knowing that those two were out there."
India started the final day on 64 for 2 and were all out for 170 with seamer Kyle Jamieson taking two early wickets.
Jamieson had been the wrecker-in-chief in India's first innings and the towering seamer returned to haunt them again on the sixth morning.
The 6' 8" (2.03m) bowler dismissed Virat Kohli (13) and Cheteshwar Pujara (15) in successive overs to jolt India.
The bowler was denied a third wicket when Southee dropped Pant's edge at second slip when the batsman was on five.
The left-hander decided to counter-attack, stepping out repeatedly against Neil Wagner injecting excitement into the contest with his devil-may-care batting.
Pant attempted the scoop shot, played the reverse pull and nearly ran himself out in his eventful knock which came to an end after an inspired bowling change by New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.
Trent Boult (3-39) dismissed Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin in the same over before Southee (4-48) polished off the tail dismissing Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah in a space of five balls.
The Black Caps lost openers Devon Conway and Tom Latham before captain Williamson and guided them to victory late in the final session of the test.
That’s simply one of the most incredible moments in NZ sport. #WTCFinal— Scotty Stevenson (@sumostevenson) June 23, 2021
Jamieson was named the player of the match, while veteran wicketkeeper BJ Watling surpassed MS Dhoni for seventh on the all-time list of catches taken in his 75th and final test.
Watling did so despite dislocating his right ring finger in the first session of the day.
"We set out at the start of this tour to send him off on the right note and I couldn't think of a more fitting way to send out one of our champion blokes and one of our champion players of this test side," Southee said.
"He's given everything to it and I couldn't be happier for him to go out on this note."
- RNZ/ Reuters