Cricket Australia’s decision to postpone the Test series against South Africa in relation to COVID-19 has dented the side’s hopes of qualifying for the ICC World Test Championship final. The decision has resulted in New Zealand qualifying for the final to be played in Lord’s in June 2021. With the Kiwis already assured of a berth, the onus now lies on India and England to be the second team to make it to the grand finale.
Looking at the current situation, Team India leads the Test Championship standings. India have 71.7 percentage points, with the Kiwis being placed second with 70 percentage points. Australia are third with a PCT of 69.2 and the England cricket team has 68.7%. For both India and England, this is the last series in the World Test Championship. They have to make the most out of the four-Test series and performing at their best will be the way forward.
For India, the equation to qualify is rather simple. They need to at least beat the Three Lions 2-0 or even a 2-1 result will help them gain progression. However, a series defeat or a 2-2 draw could make things difficult. For England, they have to win the series by a big margin. Having said that, England need to enjoy results such as 4-0, 3-0, and 3-1 in order to make it through. Given their performance in India back in 2016-17 this could be a difficult prospect.
However, England will rely on the confidence gained from the recently concluded Test series against Sri Lanka. They sealed the series 2-0 in a convincing manner. Both India and England may not qualify if the series ends 2-2 or 2-1 in favour of England. In simple terms. England shouldn’t win three Tests against India.
Notably, the PCT format came into consideration recently. The restructure saw points earned/points available to determine the standings. The matches postponed or cancelled will be considered null and void.
Given India’s performance at the home of late, Virat Kohli’s side looks like the ideal favourites to make it to the final of the Test Championship and join New Zealand there.