Kiwi crowned Test champions

AFP, Southampton

New Zealand cricket fans on Thursday hailed a “David and Goliath” win over India in the inaugural World Test Championship, praising Kane Williamson's men for erasing the heartache of recent big-match failures.

The Black Caps were also lauded for the manner in which they claimed victory, with pundits saying their sporting spirit shone through during a deserved victory in Southampton.

“This was a masterful performance from a team at the top of their game and on top of the world,” Prime Minister JacindaArdern said.

“Kane Williamson and the team leadership have built a brilliant and humble squad who have become an inspiration to many New Zealanders.”

The final was screened through the night in New Zealand and bleary-eyed viewers were mindful of the Black Caps' defeats in the past two one-day World Cup deciders.

New Zealand rugby's three-time world champions All Blacks said those results, devastating at the time, could now be regarded as "just warm-ups for the main event". “Congratulations @BLACKCAPS on taking out the grandest prize ever on offer in the history of cricket, the World Test Championship," the team's official Twitter feed said. "You dreamed big and made us all proud.” The New Zealand Herald newspaper said the win was “undoubtedly New Zealand’s greatest cricketing feat”. Many pointed to the huge disparity in financial and playing resources between India and New Zealand.

“It’s a story that's akin to David versus Goliath but Kane Williamson and his team are now World Test Champions and living proof that sometimes, just sometimes, nice guys do finish first,” former Test cricketer turned commentator Simon Doull said.