India take a step closer to securing World Test Championship final berth | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The runners-up of the first World Test Championship India have taken one step closer to consecutive WTC final after clinching an innings and 132-run victory against Australia in the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on Saturday in Nagpur.
Australia continue to hold onto top spot with points percentage of 70.83 while India are now on 61.67 percentage points to remain at second position.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Sharma’s side making a clean sweep of the series, Australia’s 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 Rohit’s side to 60.64 points percentage.
Sri Lanka can then better it by making a clean sweep of a 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, it’s unlikely Rohit’s 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 Lanka’s showing in New Zealand and the result of the series between India and Australia.
(With PTI Inputs)

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