Second Test victory sees India tighten grip on qualification for WTC Final

Indian players celebrates during the third day of the second Test against Australia in New Delhi on February 19, 2023.

Indian players celebrates during the third day of the second Test against Australia in New Delhi on February 19, 2023.
| Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

The race to qualification for the ICC World Test Championship Final took another turn on February 19, 2023 as India claimed a six-wicket victory over Australia to move a step closer to sealing their place in the June 7 game at The Oval.

The World Test Championship (WTC) 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 WTC standings securing a place in June’s Final, the result still means that Australia and India control their own destiny as they edge towards the conclusion of the competition, the ICC said in a release.

Australia remain atop the standings despite the defeat reducing their percentage tally to 66.67%, while India widened 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 in the Final.

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 March 1 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 WTC 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 June 7 with the coveted ICC WTC Mace and a place in history at stake.

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