Australia’s innings defeat to India in the first Test in Nagpur has further extended their wait to confirm a spot in the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 Final.
India have taken a giant stride towards securing their spot in the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 Final, completing a dominant innings and 132-run win in the first of four home Tests against Australia in Nagpur on Saturday, 11 February.
The result means the gulf between Australia, the top-placed team in the WTC points table currently and second-placed India has been narrowed, with the two rivals currently standing at a points percentage of 70.83% and 61.67% respectively.
India’s win has also knocked England and the West Indies out of contention for a final spot, with Sri Lanka and South Africa, who are placed third and fourth respectively in the points table, still in with a chance.
Each potential WTC23 Final
Australia v India
Australia v Sri Lanka
Australia v South Africa
India v Sri Lanka
First - Australia - 70.83% of possible points
Remaining series: India (away, three of four Tests)
Best possible percentage finish: 75.43%
Despite Australia’s defeat in the first Test against India, they are still the frontrunners to be the first team to lock a spot in the WTC final. Even in case of a defeat in all four Tests, they would still finish the cycle with a points percentage of 59.64%, provided no points are lost on the over-rate penalty, which will then leave them relying on the results for the two-match series between New Zealand and the third-placed Sri Lanka that commences next week.
A win in any of the next three Tests would help Australia to a minimum points percentage of 64.91%, while a draw would help them finish at 61.40% (provided there are no points lost on over-rate), still enough for them to make it to the final ahead of Sri Lanka, who can at best finish at 61.11%.
Second - India - 61.67% of possible points
Remaining series: Australia (home, three of four Tests)
Best possible percentage finish: 68.06%
India’s win in the first Test against Australia has helped them move closer to a second consecutive WTC final. The inaugural edition runners-up need two more wins from the remaining three Tests in the ongoing series against Australia to guarantee themselves a minimum points percentage of 62.50%, which would knock the third-placed Sri Lanka out of the race.
A defeat in each of the next three Tests or any other possible combination of results will leave them relying on New Zealand vs Sri Lanka series results.
Third - Sri Lanka - 53.33% of possible points
Remaining series: New Zealand (away, two Tests)
Best possible percentage finish: 61.11%
Sri Lanka’s chances of a top-two finish have taken a major hit following India’s win in Nagpur.
Just one series remains for them - a two-Test trip to New Zealand in March - where they have won just twice in 19 attempts.
Maximum points in New Zealand would take them to 61.1%, meaning they'll realistically be hoping Australia can overturn India in the next three Tests to open up that second spot. Sri Lanka would want Australia to go undefeated in at least two of the next three Tests - even a 2-0 win to India would take them to 60.64% - which can be bettered by Sri Lanka if they sweep New Zealand 2-0.
The drawn results however, seem highly unlikely between India and Australia, given the high-octane rivalry between the two sides and the playing conditions expected to be on offer throughout the series.
Fourth - South Africa - 48.72% of possible points
Remaining series: West Indies (home, two Tests)
Best possible percentage finish: 55.55%
At the start of the Test series in Australia in December-January, South Africa were in the top two of the World Test Championship standings. A winless Australia tour later, they now find themselves fourth in the table.
South Africa do have the luxury of two matches at home against the West Indies in February and March, but even a sweep in that series may not be enough depending on Sri Lanka’s performance in New Zealand and the result of the India v Australia series.
India’s win against Australia in the first Test has somewhat dented their chances further, and another win for the hosts in the series will knock South Africa out of the race.
Fifth - England - 46.97% of possible points (out of contention)
Remaining series: None
Best possible percentage finish: 46.97%
While England are one of the form teams of the current World Test Championship period, poor results earlier had already put their qualification chances virtually non-existent at the start of the ongoing India vs Australia series.
India’s win on Saturday has now officially knocked them out, with their percentage finish of 46.97% with the completion of all their matches in the cycle not enough for a top-two finish.
The 3-0 series win in Pakistan and England’s stunning home form under Ben Stokes’ tutelage means they will surely be one of the favourites heading into the next World Test Championship period.
Sixth - West Indies - 40.91% of possible points (out of contention)
Remaining series: South Africa (away, two Tests)
Best possible percentage finish: 50%
West Indies, with just two Tests remaining in the cycle - on their South Africa tour beginning February 28 - had their eyes on other results to go their way, but India’s win in Nagpur has put them mathematically out of the race.
India will finish at a minimum points percentage of 51.38%, should they lose the remaining three Tests, which is still better than the maximum West Indies can achieve if they defeat the Proteas.
Seventh - Pakistan - 38.1% of possible points (out of contention)
Remaining series: None
Best possible percentage finish: 38.1%
With a draw in both Tests of the series against New Zealand in Karachi, Pakistan are no longer in contention to qualify for the World Test Championship final.
An ordinary run of Tests at home, where Pakistan did not win a single Test in the entire WTC cycle, cost them a place in the final.
Eighth - New Zealand - 27.27% of possible points (out of contention)
Remaining series: Sri Lanka (home, two Tests)
Best possible percentage finish: 38.46%
While New Zealand still have two Tests remaining this period, they won't be able to defend the World Test Championship mace they won at Lord's last year.
They could put the final nail in the coffin of Sri Lanka during their upcoming series.
Ninth - Bangladesh - 11.11 % of possible points (out of contention)
Remaining series: Nil
Best possible percentage finish: 11.11 %
It's been a very disappointing campaign for Bangladesh, with the Asian side all but certain to finish at the bottom of the standings.