India move closer to securing WTC final berth, Australia kept waiting


Indias innings and 132-run victory against Australia in the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy here on Saturday has helped them move closer to a second World Test Championship (WTC) final berth, while extending the Pat Cummins-led sides wait for a title round spot confirmation.

Following the win, crafted by the Indian spin-bowling pair of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, No.2 India are now on 61.67 percentage points as compared to 70.83 of No.1 Australia.

However, India still need two more wins from the remaining three Tests of the series to guarantee themselves a minimum points percentage of 62.50, which would beyond doubt knock third-placed Sri Lanka out of contention. If india win all the three remaining matches of the series, they could reach a best possible percentage of 68.06.

Indias innings win, while extending Australias wait in the WTC final race, also shut the door on England and the West Indies hopes of securing a berth in the 2021-23 cycle of the Test championship.


Australia still have plenty of cushion to make the WTC final, but a 0-4 loss to India could bring third-placed Sri Lanka back in contention, as the Islanders still have a two-match Test fixture against New Zealand commencing next week.

In the event of Rohit Sharmas side making a clean sweep of the series, Australias points percentage will drop to 59.64. If Sri Lanka manage to win both their Tests against the Blackcaps, it will take their points percentage to 61.1, which will be good enough to get them past Australia and secure a WTC final berth.

However, Sri Lanka will be better served if Australia go undefeated in at least two of the next three Tests, as a 2-0 win for India would only take Rohits side to 60.64 points percentage. Sri Lanka can then better it by making a clean sweep of two-match Test series against the Kiwis and leapfrog India to seal a WTC summit clash against Australia.

But going by Indian spinners exploits in the first Test in Nagpur and the playing conditions expected to favour the home side, its unlikely Rohits side will stop at just two wins.

“For Australia, a win in any of the next three Tests will help them 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 points percentage,” according to calculation made by the ICC.

South Africa will play a home series against the West Indies in February-March, but even a sweep in that contest might not be enough depending on Sri Lankas showing in New Zealand and the result of series between India and Australia.

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