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India have retained the ICC Test Championship Mace and won the purse of a million dollars for third consecutive year after topping the international Test rankings.

India finished eight points ahead of New Zealand in the contest, who finished second in the rankings.

Kohli, who led India to their historic series win in Australia in 71 years, said the achievement would hold his side in good stead ahead of the upcoming ICC Test Championship.

"Retaining the ICC Test Championship Mace once again is something we are all really proud of," he said.

"We all know of the importance of Test cricket and of how only the best can prosper in the format," he said in a statement published by the International Cricket Council.

The Ashes series between England and Australia in August will launch the first world championship.

Nine Test teams will compete in 27 series and 71 Test matches to reach the finals in 2021.

New Zealand received $500,000 for their second-place finish while third ranked South Africa got $200,000.

New ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney congratulated Kohli and his team for retaining the Test Championship Mace and said the new Test Championship will provide "an undisputed conclusion to some of the most renowned cricket rivalries in the international game."

#India#South Africa#New Zealand