Road to Oval: Who are still in contention for ICC World Test Championship?

With three Test series currently in progress, the race for the ICC Test Championship is getting interesting with a number of teams eyeing for the second spot.

As this story is being drafted, India are in Bangladesh and Pakistan are facing England as the hosts but the latest update comes after Australia’s commanding victory over South Africa inside two days in Brisbane.

It means Australia continue to hold the top slot and that too with an even greater lead. India are now the second ranked side while South Africa down to third slot.

A country-wise position is given below, showing if and how a side can reach the ICC Test Championship final scheduled for next year. The top teams will play the final in June next year at London’s Oval.

There is still plenty to play for though, with Sri Lanka all of a sudden back in the picture in a big way and Pakistan still in with a shot if they can prevail in their ongoing Test against England in Karachi.

A total of five sides can still feature in the World Test Championship final and here is what needs to happen for your team to make it.

  1. Australia – 76.92% of possible points

Remaining series: South Africa (home, two Tests), India (away, four Tests)

Best possible percentage finish: 84.21%

Australia are in the box seat to qualify for their first World Test Championship final. They have two more matches at home against the Proteas in Melbourne and Sydney.

Four Tests in India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February and March next year will be Australia’s final assignment this period, but they may almost have their place in the final wrapped up prior should everything go their way on home soil.

  • India – 55.77% of possible points

Remaining series: Bangladesh (away, one Test), Australia (home, four Tests)

Best possible percentage finish: 68.06%

India cruised to an easy victory over Bangladesh away from home and will be hoping veteran skipper Rohit Sharma will recover from his thumb injury in time to feature in the next Test. A positive result against Shakib Al Hasan’s side will have the Asian side well placed for a top-two finish.

But they will need to produce some good results during their series against pacesetters Australia if they are to make it back-to-back appearances in the World Test Championship final.

  • South Africa – 54.55% of possible points

Remaining series: Australia (away, two Tests), West Indies (home, two Tests)

Best possible percentage finish: 69.77%

South Africa with a brittle batting lineup suffered a huge blow after their six-wicket loss to Australia when they dropped out of a top-two place and were replaced by India in second spot.

But the good news for Dean Elgar’s side is they still have an opportunity to reclaim their place inside the top two, but they must hit back quickly during their ongoing series in Australia.

South Africa do have the luxury of two matches at home against the West Indies in February and March, but they will want to make sure they don’t leave themselves with too much to do by the time that series comes around.

  • Sri Lanka – 53.33% of possible points

Remaining series: New Zealand (away, two Tests)

Best possible percentage finish: 61.11%

One of the big winners from recent Tests has been Sri Lanka, who have had their chances of an inaugural appearance in the World Test Championship final improved without even playing a match.

Regardless of other results between now and next year’s final, Sri Lanka are still going to have to win all their remaining Test matches this period to have any hope of featuring.

Just one series remains for Sri Lanka – a two-Test trip to New Zealand in March – where they have won just twice in 19 attempts.

Maximum points in New Zealand would take them to 61.1%, meaning they’ll be hoping Australia can continue on their winning ways and they can sneak into second place with two wins over the Kiwis.

  • England – 44.44% of possible points (out of contention)

Remaining series: Pakistan (away, one of three Tests remaining)

Best possible percentage finish: 46.97%

While England are one of the form teams of the current World Test Championship period, poor results early in the period means they can no longer qualify.

They can end Pakistan’s hopes with a victory in the third and final Test of the ongoing series in Karachi, with that match currently hanging in the balance.

  • Pakistan – 42.42% of possible points

Remaining series: England (home, one Test remaining), New Zealand (home, two Tests)

Best possible percentage finish: 54.76%

The equation is simple for Pakistan: if they want to make it to the World Test Championship final, they require wins in all their remaining matches to have any chance of a top-two finish.

If they can pick up a victory in Karachi then Pakistan will be hoping Australia can continue on their winning ways and cause South Africa and India to tumble down the standings over the coming months.

So Pakistan, as always, is banking more on others rather than focusing solely on their own performance – a routine headache for their supporters.

  • West Indies – 40.91% of possible points (out of contention)

Remaining series: South Africa (away, two Tests)

Best possible percentage finish: 50%

Just two Tests remain for the West Indies, with their recent 2-0 series loss to Australia leaving Kraigg Brathwaite’s side with no chance of progressing.

  • New Zealand – 25.93% of possible points (out of contention)

Remaining series: Pakistan (away, two Tests), Sri Lanka (home, two Tests)

Best possible percentage finish: 48.72%

While New Zealand still have four Tests remaining this period, they won’t be able to defend the World Test Championship mace they won at Lord’s last year. Certainly a disappointing cycle for the Kiwis.

But they could put the final nail in the coffin for both Pakistan and Sri Lanka during their upcoming series.

  • Bangladesh – 12.12% of possible points (out of contention)

Remaining series: India (home, one Test)

Best possible percentage finish: 19.44%

It’s been a very disappointing campaign for Bangladesh thus far, with the Asian side all but certain to finish on the bottom of the standings.

Their final match of the current period comes in Mirpur against India and they will be hoping to reverse the result from the first Test of the series in Chattogram.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here