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Arguably the biggest three weeks in New Zealand Cricket history are about to kick off this week, when the Black Caps square-off in three test matches that could crown New Zealand at the top of the world cricket test match summit.

Back-to-back test matches against England are just the entree to New Zealand meeting India at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton, to decide the inaugural ICC World Test Match Championship.

Over the last two years, the nine test-playing nations have engaged in a league competition, which has resulted in the top two teams meeting to decide the 2019-2021 Test Match Championship.

An unbeaten test winning streak at home propelled New Zealand into second place in the final standings - and a match-up with India in the title decider.

Perusal of the match conditions allows for joint champions in advent of a draw or a tie, thereby removing the memory of the last World Cup Final, where New Zealand was denied victory against England on count back, after the regular game and super over both finished with equal scores.

This week’s first test is to be played at the historic ground commonly referred to as the 'Home of Cricket', at Lords (Cricket Ground) in St John's Wood in London.

Named after its founder Thomas Lord, cricket has been played at Lords since 1787, with the current ground hosting matches since 1814.

The ground is owned by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), who are the custodians of the Laws of Cricket as the original governing body of the game.

History abounds in the ground, with the oldest permanent fixture being the annual Eton versus Harrow schools match, which dates back to 1805, with the Cambridge v Oxford University game having been played at Lords since 1827.

Sideline Sid had the opportunity to soak up the history of Lords nearly a decade ago, on the first day of an England v West Indies test.

You can almost smell the history of the place where the Pavilion with its famous long room, which was constructed in 1890, sits alongside the futuristic media centre that looks like a spaceship.

Lords is also the home of the MCC Museum, which is the oldest sports museum in the world.

The unique collection of cricket history includes the ashes urn, which is the symbol of test match supremacy between England and Australia.

Lords hasn't proved a happy hunting ground for New Zealand, who have played 17 tests, drawing eight, losing seven, with their sole victory coming in July 1999.

It is worth recalling the historic Black Caps win at the 'Home of Cricket'.

England won the toss and were bowled out for 186, with Chris Cairns writing his name on to the Lords Honours Board, in taking six wickets for a cost of 77 runs.

New Zealand posted 358, with Matt Horne who these days plays club cricket for Papamoa, belting a neat century to also join the Lords Honours Board.

England were removed for 229 in their second turn at bat, leaving New Zealand to reach 60 for one wicket in strolling to victory.

With Bay of Plenty's magic man in Kane Williamson leading his New Zealand troops at Lords this week - expectations are high of the Kiwis second win at the historic London ground.

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian
www.sunlive.co.nz