India retain ICC Test Championship mace for 3rd successive year

Last Modified Tuesday, 2 April 2019 (11:22 IST)
New Delhi: India have retained the Mace for a third straight year and won the purse of  1 million dollar after a memorable season,  ICC's official website said in a statement on Monday.
India finished at the top of the rankings on the cut-off date of April 1 while New Zealand claimed second spot in the league. 
Expressing his happiness on the achievement, India captain Virat Kohli said,''Retaining the ICC Test Championship Mace once again is something we are all really proud of. Our team has been doing well across formats but it gives us extra pleasure to come out on top of the Test rankings. We all know of the importance of Test cricket and of how only the best can prosper in the format''.
''Our team has a lot of depth and I am sure this will stand us in good stead once the ICC World Test Championship commences later this year. That is again something we are really looking forward to as it adds more context to Test match cricket'', he added. 
The Kane Williamson-led New Zealand side, who also had the satisfaction of seeing their captain get the ICC Spirit of Cricket award for 2018, earnt  500,000 dollar after finishing with 108 points, eight behind India.
South Africa, who had finished second the previous two years, will now get a prize money of 200,000 dollar for finishing third with 105 points while Australia, who edged out England on decimal points at 104 points, bag 100,000 dollar.
ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney congratulated the Indian team while reiterating the importance of Test cricket and looking forward to the start of the ICC World Test Championship later this year.
He said, '' I congratulate India on retaining the ICC Test Championship Mace and appreciate the passion Virat Kohli's team has shown across formats over the past few years. It takes so much dedication and determination to consistently perform at the highest level in Test cricket.''
Nine Test nations will compete across 27 series and 71 Test matches to reach the ICC World Test Championship Final in 2021 where the World Test Champions will be crowned.(UNI)