WTC Final, India vs Australia
Australia Test captain Pat Cummins (left) and India skipper Rohit Sharma. File photo: Twitter/ICC

WTC final: India and Australia’s road to the Ultimate Test at The Oval

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India and Australia will go head-to-head in the Ultimate Test – the final of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) 2021-23 at The Oval, London from Wednesday (Jun e 7).

Australia and India were the top two sides of the 69-Test, two-year cycle which saw the two dominate their rivals before heading into a thrilling four-Test series in India which the hosts won by a narrow 2-1 margin.

Australia finished at the top of the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 standings with 11 wins, five draws and three defeats (19 matches) which earned them 152 points and a PCT of 66.67.

Also read: India overtakes Australia to become No.1 Test side in ICC rankings

India collected 127 points, winning 10 Tests, drawing three and losing five (18 matches) to finish with a 58.8 PCT – second spot in the standings.

Here is how Australia reached the WTC final

Australia started their WTC campaign with a resounding 4-0 Ashes win over their oldest rivals England at home. The series was played in December-January 2021-22 with the hosts dominating the visitors throughout. The convincing victory earned Australia a hefty 52 points spread over the five Tests.

Australia toured Pakistan for a historic three-match Test series in March last year, their first visit to the Asian country in 24 years. After playing out draws in Rawalpindi and Karachi, the Pat Cummins-led side earned a hard-fought fifth-day win in Lahore to seal a 1-0 series win. Australia earned 20 points from the series.

Also read: India vs Australia: Another home series won; India’s next focus is global title

The Australians toured Sri Lanka for a two-Test series in June-July 2022, a 1-1 series draw earning them 12 points.

The home season brought more success for Australia as they trounced the West Indies 2-0 in a two-match series. The series clean sweep earned them 24 points. South Africa toured Australia next and suffered a 2-0 defeat in a three-match series that earned Australia 28 additional ICC World Test Championship points.

Despite their 2-1 defeat to India in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy – February-March 2023, Australia sealed their ICC World Test Championship final spot with a resounding nine-wicket win in Indore – the third Test of the four-match series. Australia secured a total of 16 points from the series.

Also read: Will be a challenge to play WTC final right after IPL, says Rahul Dravid

Here is how India reached the WTC final

India took on England away in a five-match series that was split into two parts with the first four matches played in August 2021 and the series decider – fifth Test – a year later in July 2022. The fifth Test had to be postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Indian camp.

The enthralling series finished as a 2-2 draw, India were 2-1 ahead when the series was stopped in 2021, they then lost the Birmingham Test in July 2022. India earned 24 points spread across the five Tests.

India defeated New Zealand 1-0 in a two-match series at home in November-December 2021. The hosts collected 16 points.

A hard-fought three-match series in South Africa was won by the hosts, India won one Test as the series ended 2-1 in favour of the Proteas. India gathered 11 points.

Sri Lanka were beaten 2-0 at home in a two-match series in March 2022 as India secured 24 valuable points.

A 2-0 win over Bangladesh in an away series gave India 24 crucial points in December 2022 before their 2-1 Border-Gavaskar Trophy (BGT) series win at home against Australia saw them bag 28 points.

India secured their Ultimate Test spot when they played out a draw in Ahmedabad – the fourth and final Test of the BGT series as Sri Lanka lost narrowly to New Zealand in Christchurch last month. The Islanders needed to beat New Zealand 2-0 in the two-match series to clinch a spot in the final ahead of India.

WTC 2021-23 Standings

WTC 2021-23 Standings

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