Saturday, March 2, 2024

India vs England: How It Will Decide the Fate of the World Test Championship?

Test cricket championship is an attempt by ICC to give new life to test cricket. It started with the Ashes in August 2019. The idea was to boost the ratings of test cricket. If you look back, every test series in this tournament had at least one test, which had us glued to our screens. It provided a new color to the test cricket. For the first time in the history of test cricket, players donned the jersey with their name and number written at the back. 

After two failed attempts in 2013 and 2017, ICC managed to go ahead with this tournament in 2019. But then came the pandemic, and it halted the entire plan. Several test series were not organized and pushed forward. The event is now in its last phase, and still, there are question marks over few test series. 

Lord’s will host the final of the championship. The results of the next two test series will decide the finalists for the tournament. 

India and England are going to play a four-match test series in India starting from 5th February. Australia will travel to South Africa probably in March to play a three-match test series.

South Africa is currently playing a test series against Pakistan. These will be the last test series for each team in this tournament.

The race to the final is between India, New Zealand, Australia, and England. The percentage of points (PCT) received by a team decides the ranking in the points table.         

Current Points Table updated after the first test match between Pakistan and South Africa

The percentage of points earned by a team determines the rankings. A team can earn a maximum of 120 points from a particular test series. 

Distribution of points in ICC World Test Championship

India had a brilliant start in the tournament. They defeated West Indies by 2-0. Then played two back-to-back test series against Bangladesh and South Africa at home and managed a clean sweep against both teams. 

At the start of 2020, India traveled to New Zealand to play a two-match test series. This time, India was on the receiving end. New Zealand thrashed India comfortably and won the test series by 2-0. 

At the end of the last year, India and Australia played the Border Gavaskar Trophy. Australia defeated India in the first test of the series. India was all out for 36 runs in the last innings. Post that, India won two of the next three test matches. None of the test series played by India has ended in a draw till now. 

England started their campaign against Australia during the Ashes. England won the third test match at Leeds by one-wicket. The hero of the game was Ben Stokes. His 135 not-out sealed the game for England. It was one of the greatest test-match in the history of test cricket. However, Australia managed to bounce back, and the series ended in a draw.

England then traveled to South Africa at the end of 2019. South Africa won the first test of the series. But they could not move ahead with the lead and were caught by England from behind. England won the test series by 3-1. 

England then played two back-to-back test series against West Indies and Pakistan at home in 2020. 

England defeated West Indies by 3-0. England won the three-match test series against Pakistan by 1-0.  

England traveled to Sri Lanka at the start of January to play a two-match test series. England won the series by 2-0 and gained 120 points.      

England is the only team that has not lost a test series in the tournament. They will try their best to maintain their record against India as well.  

Both the teams are going to lock horns from 5th February. This test series might decide the first finalist of the test championship. 

Being a four-test match series, both teams will earn a maximum of 30 points from a match. Both the teams have played five test series and have contested for 600 points till now. 

We are trying to look at the effect that the test series between India and England will have on the points table. 

To qualify, India needs to win at least two of the test matches from the upcoming series. If the test series ends on a draw, India will have 68.05% PCT in the end. It will not be enough to qualify for the finals. 

If India loses a test match, then they will need to win three test matches.

England is at the fourth position on the points table. It will be more difficult for them to qualify. 

A clean sweep will give them 73.8% PCT. It will be enough to play the finals at Lord’s. A 3-0 win will provide them 71.8% PCT, and a 3-1 win will fetch them 69.7% PCT. The first option will give them a first or second position on the points table. The second option will not be a guarantee to play the finals. A draw will surely not be helpful for them as well. 

Ankit Anand
Ankit Anand
Writer. Poet. Avid Cricket Fan. Marketing Geek. I read more than I write. I listen more than I speak. I have been following cricket longer before I learned the meaning of the word 'Following.'
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