ANI Photo | World Test Championship 2021-23: What lies ahead for every team in final stages of the competition

Pakistan’s loss to England in the second Test match of the series at Multan has left the race for the ICC World Test Championship final wide open.
Australia are currently at the top of the standings. They are in a good position to reach the finals but there are at least four other teams in contention.
Here is how each team stands while heading into the final stages of the Championship.
1). Australia have already achieved 70 per cent of the maximum possible points they can achieve. Australia still have a series remaining against South Africa at home and India in the subcontinent. After clinching a 2-0 series win over West Indies, these are two tough challenges ahead for the Aussies.
South Africa will be a much tougher side as compared to West Indies. Pat Cummins’s men will also look forward to putting up a better fight in India, where they have not won a Test series since 2004. The team faces some fitness woes, Josh Hazlewood in particular and would like veteran opener David Warner to click in what could be his final year in the longer format.
2). South Africa: 60 per cent of possible total points
The Proteas have three-Test series against Australia Down Under coming with West Indies being their another assignment at home. After losing an away Test series to England by 2-1, they lost their top spot in Championship standings, but they still remain in contention nonetheless.
The away series against Australia will be crucial for both sides, with history on side of Proteas, who have won the last three series between both the teams in Australia. South Africa pace artillery will enjoy its time in pace-friendly Australia.
3). Sri Lanka: 53.33 per cent of possible total points
Sri Lanka is well-placed to reach the final, but they need that everything goes in their favour, be it their own matches or that of others. Their next and final assignment of the current WTC cycle is an away series to New Zealand in March.
But history is not on SL’s side as they have won only twice in their 19 attempts there. Maximum points in NZ will take their win percentage of 61.1 per cent. They will need help from other sides down the table to finish in the top two.
4). India: 52.08 per cent of possible points
India is currently in Bangladesh. After this, they will have their toughest assignment in a while in form of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia at home.
Despite India having an excellent recent record against Australia, the Aussies are not a side to be taken lightly.
5). England: 44.44 per cent of possible points

England have possibly been eliminated from the World Test Championship, but they have been in exceptional form since the duo of captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum has taken over. They have managed to spoil Pakistan’s chances to reach the summit clash and recent results make them a force to be reckoned with during the next Championship.

6). Pakistan: 42.42 per cent of possible points
Pakistan are left struggling at sixth place in the standings, with their hopes for final dashed by England. Even if they win the final Test against England at home and achieve a clean sweep against New Zealand at home, they will stay out of the race.
But there is some positives as well, with the side almost drawing the Test at Rawalpindi and fighting valiantly before falling to a 26-run loss in the second Test.
7). West Indies: 40.91 per cent of possible points
West Indies had hopes for the final when they were heading to Australia for the two-match series. But a crushing 2-0 loss in Australia ended their journey. Now the only impact they can make is spoiling South Africa’s chances for finals by defeating them, though Proteas are heading into the series as clear favourites.
They have distanced themselves from the bottom of the table and there were some positives in the series against Australia, like the batting of skipper Kraigg Brathwaite and debutant Tagenarine Chanderpaul.
Brathwaite is leading West Indies’ batting charts in the current WTC cycle, having scored 948 runs at an average of 49.89. Tagenarine also averages 40 across four Test innings against a fierce Australian attack.
Bowling load has been carried by several members of the team, though their depth could be tested against South Africa as many injuries plague them during the Australia tour.
8). New Zealand: 25.93 per cent of possible points
New Zealand is completely out of contention for the final. The 2021 champions struggled in the current cycle. They fell to Bangladesh at home, saw Ross Taylor retire from the game and their captain Kane Williamson get sidelined with elbow issues. Even if they clinch their two-Test series against Pakistan (away) and Sri Lanka (home) respectively, they will finish with the best percentage of 48.72, which is well short of what is needed to feature in the summit clash.
9). Bangladesh: 13.33 per cent of possible points
Bangladesh is currently going to start their home series against India, which comprises of two Tests from Wednesday onwards. Their batting has been shaky, which has prevented them from progressing in the tournament.
Batters in the team occupy just two of top-40 spots in the current cycle, with Litton Das (883 runs) and Mushfiqur Rahim (539 runs) being the only players. The side has failed to win any Test at home, but did surprise NZ in their own territory. (ANI)

This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.

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