The race to qualification for the ICC World Test Championship Final took another turn as India claimed a thrilling six-wicket victory over Australia to move a step closer to sealing their place at the Ultimate Test at the Oval on 7 June.
The World Test Championship has seen two years of intense competition in the longest format, and the second Test in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy characterised the ebb and flow that has been present throughout, with both sides wrestling for control of the match before Rohit Sharma’s men triumphed on a dramatic day in Delhi.
With the top two teams in the ICC World Test Championship standings securing a place in June’s Final, the result still means that Australia and India control their own destiny as we edge towards the conclusion of the competition.
Australia remain atop the standings despite the defeat reducing their percentage tally to 66.67%, while India widen the gap between themselves and third spot thanks to their victory in Delhi, moving to 64.06%.
As a result of India’s victory, the number of teams able to qualify for the Final shrinks from four to three. South Africa drop out of contention, unable to reach the percentage points required to break into the top two, leaving Sri Lanka as the lone challenger for a place at the Ultimate Test.
Sri Lanka currently sit third in the standings on 53.33%, and they head to New Zealand next month knowing that not only must they win both Tests in their two-match series to stand any chance of qualification, but they are also reliant on favourable results in the remaining Tests between India and Australia.
The third Test between India and Australia starts in Indore on 1 March with the hosts able to secure their place at The Oval with another victory. Anything less, and Australia will become the first team to qualify for the World Test Championship Final.
With so much still to play for, the race to qualification promises to provide more tension and excitement before the top two teams take to the field on 7 June with the coveted ICC World Test Championship Mace and a place in history at stake.
Remaining ICC World Test Championship Fixtures
South Africa v West Indies (1st Test) – Centurion, South Africa, 28 February-4 March
India v Australia (3rd Test) – Indore, India, 1-5 March
South Africa v West Indies (2nd Test) – Johannesburg, South Africa, 8-12 March
New Zealand v Sri Lanka (1st Test) – Christchurch, New Zealand, 9-13 March
India v Australia (4th Test) – Ahmedabad, India, 9-13 March
New Zealand v Sri Lanka (2nd Test) – Wellington, New Zealand, 17-21 March