India inched closer to a place in the ICC World Test Championship Final as the third day of the Delhi Test on Sunday saw India taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023.
The hosts claimed a thrilling six-wicket victory over Australia to move a step closer to sealing their place at the Ultimate Test at the Oval on June 7.
The World Test Championship 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 ICC World Test Championship standings securing a place in June’s Final, the result still means that Australia and India control their own destiny as we edge towards the conclusion of the competition.
Australia remains atop the standings despite the defeat reducing their percentage tally to 66.67 per cent. At the same time, India widens the gap between themselves and the third spot thanks to their victory in Delhi, moving to 64.06 per cent.
As a result of India’s victory, the number of teams able to qualify for the Final shrinks from four to three. South Africa dropped 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 at the Ultimate Test.
Sri Lanka currently sits third in the standings at 53.33 per cent, 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 two tests between India and Australia.
The third testmatch between India and Australia starts in Indore on 1 March 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 World Test Championship 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 7 June with the coveted ICC World Test Championship Mace and a place in history at stake.
Remaining ICC World Test Championship Fixtures
South Africa v West Indies (1st Test) – Centurion, South Africa, February 28- March 4
India v Australia (3rd Test) – Indore, India, March 1-5
South Africa v West Indies (2nd Test) – Johannesburg, South Africa, March 8-12
New Zealand v Sri Lanka (1st Test) – Christchurch, New Zealand, March 9-13
India v Australia (4th Test) – Ahmedabad, India, March 9-13
New Zealand v Sri Lanka (2nd Test) – Wellington, New Zealand, March 17-21. (ANI)