The top four - India, New Zealand, Australia and England - in the ICC World Test Championship are separated by just 3 percentage points as the race for the final goes down to the wire.
England closed in on the top three with a 2-0 series sweep in Sri Lanka. The nine-team table is led by India with 71.7%, ahead of New Zealand's 70%, Australia's 69.2% and England's 68.7%. In November, the ICC had announced that the points system for the World Test Championship would be remodelled due to the disruption caused to the regular calendar by COVID-19, with teams being ranked by percentage of points earned (PCT).
Below are some qualification scenarios for reaching the final of the World Test Championships:
India – 71.7%
Remaining matches: Four-Test home series against England
To cement their place in the final, India will need to win their upcoming four-match home series against England by at least a two-match margin. If they lose one Test, then they will need to win three games (4-0, 3-0, 3-1 or 2-0), whereas a 0-3 or 0-4 loss against England will wipe away their chances of making the final regardless of other results.
New Zealand – 70.0%
Remaining matches: None
The equation for New Zealand is simple; as they may not have more engagements (their home series against Bangladesh is not confirmed). New Zealand will remain on 70.0%, having claimed 420 points from a possible 600. Therefore, they need no more than one other team to finish with more than 70.0% of points earned.
For instance, a combination of England winning all their remaining matches and South Africa winning by a 3-0 or 2-0 margin against Australia would end New Zealand’s chances of making the final.
Australia – 69.2%
Remaining matches: Three Tests in South Africa (TBC)
Australia have slipped to third place with 69.2% points after their loss in the final Test against India in Brisbane. To secure a place in the final, Australia will have to win at least two Tests of the yet to be confirmed three-match series against South Africa and avoid any losses. On the other hand, a home series win by South Africa will end Australia’s chances of making the final. Any other results require a favourable combination of series results not featuring Australia.
England – 68.7%
Remaining matches: Four Tests in India
Fourth-placed England's best chance of reaching the final is to win the four-match series against India by a 3-0 or 4-0 margin. Any other results require a favourable combination of series results not featuring England.
South Africa – 40.0%
Remaining matches: Two Tests in Pakistan, Three-Test home series against Australia (TBC)
After England's series win in Sri Lanka, South Africa's hopes of making the final have ended.
The remaining teams – Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Bangladesh – will not be able to reach the final even if they win all their remaining fixtures.
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