New Zealand need just 14 balls on the final day of the second and final Test against Sri Lanka in Christchurch to wrap up victory and end 2018 on an ultimate high. Kane Williamson’s side clinched the match by a record margin of 423 runs to win the series 1-0 after the first Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington was drawn thanks to magnificent centuries from Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews. In the process, Williamson’s New Zealand side created some records in a year which can be considered as one of their best when it comes to the Test arena.
The 423-run victory margin for New Zealand is their best-ever in terms of runs against any side, beating their previous best of 254 which was achieved against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 2016. Overall, it is the eighth-highest margin of victory in terms of runs in Tests, with the highest being 675 runs by England against Australia in 1928 in Brisbane, a match which was the debut of Sir Don Bradman.
This is also the first time in their cricketing history that New Zealand has won four consecutive Test series in a calendar year. 2018 began with a bang with Williamson’s side whitewashing the West Indies 2-0 in the Test series but their biggest achievement came when they defeated England 1-0 in a hard-fought Test series. This was New Zealand’s first victory at home against England after more than 30 years. Things continued to get better for New Zealand when they defeated Pakistan in their ‘home’ series in the UAE for the first time in 49 years.
In that series, New Zealand secured a four-run win in Abu Dhabi, their closest margin of victory in Tests. However, they were beaten in Dubai thanks to Yasir Shah’s 14-wicket haul but Williamson’s century in the final Test gave New Zealand their ultimate series win. Previously, New Zealand had managed to win only three consecutive Test series and they did it twice, in 2013/14 and in the 1985/86 season.
When asked about the record, Williamson replied in his own classy way by saying, “I haven't spoken about it (four successive series victories), maybe a guy just told me now. It's always one game at a time.” New Zealand will now play the ODI series and T20I series against Sri Lanka followed by a tough series against India in February.