New Zealand's cricketing heroes have arrived home – bringing with them the impressive mace trophy signifying their international test cricket dominance.
Members of the team which triumphed over India in the one-off test to decide the ICC's Test World Championship touched down into Auckland International Airport this morning.
Not every member of the squad has flown home; some are staying in England to take up lucrative contracts with respective County teams.
Retiring wicketkeeper BJ Watling was pictured walking through towards the airport luggage area holding the mace.
Veteran pace bowler Neil Wagner was walking behind him.
Members of the side and management team who have returned to New Zealand now face a 14-day stay in managed isolation and quarantine.
Their bus took them to a hotel in Manukau where they will carry out their stint in MIQ.
The Blacks Caps triumphed in stunning style in the rain-impacted final of the test championship in Southampton on Thursday morning (NZ Time).
The Black Caps claimed the WTC mace, $2.2 million in prize money, and bragging rights after pummelling Virat Kohli's side by eight wickets.
In the process they forced Australian test captain Tim Paine to eat humble pie.
Shortly before the match, the 36-year-old wicketkeeper said India "will win pretty comfortably if they play anywhere near their best".
His comments followed the Black Caps' series win against a weakened England, who face Australia in the Ashes in December."We all get some wrong. I copped a bit from the Kiwi fans, so I thought I'd come on air and eat some humble pie," Paine told Newstalk ZB's D'Arcy Waldegrave.
"I thought the New Zealanders played outstandingly. It's always a pleasure to watch the way they go about it. For such a small nation - I'm from Tasmania, which is obviously our smallest resource state, and we punch above our weight - so I certainly respect what the Kiwis do on an international stage."
Paine, who captained the Aussies to a series whitewash against New Zealand when the teams last met in December 2019, singled out the emergence of towering fast bowler Kyle Jamieson who has made all the difference for the Black Caps.
"They've done well under Kane [Williamson] since they last played us ... they've added big Kyle Jamieson, who on day 5 or 6 was outstanding, and a quality opening batter which is Devon Conway, so they're always improving and they always seem to find these good cricketers.
"They've added a big tall fast bowler who rarely misses his length, complemented by Trent Boult and Tim Southee. The height that he comes down from is clearly troubling batsmen around the world.
"Devon Conway has come into all formats of cricket for New Zealand and done really well. When you have a good start at the top of the order, then you've got Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, and Henry Nicholls - they just keep coming, they're a good side and always have been."