The historic win at the Gabba gave India not only a series win in Australia but the top rank in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) table, significantly boosting their chances of making the first-ever WTC Final in June.
As things stand, it is a three-way race to that final with India, New Zealand and Australia being top contenders. England have an outside chance.
With the pandemic playing havoc with the calendar, the ICC was forced to remodel the WTC points system last November. The teams are now ranked according to percentage of points won by a team out of the total number of points contested in a series.
The total number of points in any Test series is 120. In the India-Australia series, for eg., a win fetched 30 points, a tie 15 and a draw 10 points, based on which the percentages are calculated. If teams are tied on points percentage, the runs-per-wicket ratio will be calculated.
TOI takes a look at where the contenders for the WTC final stand…
India (71.7%, 430 points)
Remaining matches: 4-Test home series vs England
Need 80 more points out of a possible 120 against England to stay ahead of New Zealand. India must beat England by a 2-match margin to book their place in the WTC final. If India lose 1 Test, they will need to win the remaining 3. In short, India have to win either 4-0, 3-1, 3-0 or 2-0. If India lose 0-3 or 0-4, they will not make the final regardless of other results.
New Zealand (70%, 420 pts)
Remaining matches: None
New Zealand’s home series vs Bangladesh was not confirmed, so they are likely to remain on 420 points out of a possible 600 and will depend on other results. If SA beat Australia by a 3-0 or 2-0 margin and England win all their remaining matches, NZ will be out.
Australia (69.2%, 332 pts)
Remaining matches: 3 Tests in South Africa (TBC)
Australia lost 4 points due to a slow over rate in the MCG Test and need 89 points vs SA. Australia have to win at least 2 of the 3 games in that series, which is yet to be confirmed, and avoid any losses. If SA win their home series, Australia will drop out of the race. For other outcomes, Australia will be dependent on other results.
England (65.2%, 352 pts)
Remaining matches: 1 Test in Sri Lanka, 4 Tests in India
Have an outside chance. Must beat SL in Galle and beat India 3-0 or 4-0. A 2-2 drawn series vs India won’t be enough.
Note: South Africa (40%) are in with a mathematical chance if they clean sweep both the series vs Australia & Pakistan. Pak, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka & West Indies are out of the race.