South Africa’s series loss in Australia damaged their chances of competing in the WTC final. We examine the top candidates for the World Test Championship final and what they must do to get there with only three series remaining in the 2021–2023 calendar.
Have Australia booked their spot in the final?
With a 2-0 series victory against South Africa at home, Australia has 75.56% of the points and has all but guaranteed their spot in the championship game. They will only be eliminated if Sri Lanka wins both of its games in New Zealand and they drop all four of their Tests in India.
Australia will lose 4-0 in India, dropping their percentage to 59.65, while Sri Lanka will increase to 61.11 if they sweep New Zealand. Even if Sri Lanka loses 4-0 in India, their percentage will still be below Australia’s if they win 1-0 in New Zealand.
Australia just has to draw one Test in India to stop depending on other teams, providing they don’t give up any penalty points. With a tie and a 3-0 loss in India while not giving up any penalty points, they will end with 61.40%, only slightly more than Sri Lanka can manage. However, they will drop to 60.96% with just one penalty point.
What do India need to reach the WTC final?
Regardless of the outcomes of other series, India will advance to the final if they defeat Australia at home 3-1 or better. After winning the series 2-0 in Bangladesh, they are now second on the standings with 58.93%. If they defeat Australia, their position would rise to 68.06%, 62.5%, and 56.94%, respectively.
India would fall outside the top two if the series ends 2-2 and Sri Lanka wins 2-0 in New Zealand. If India scores less than 21 points against Australia and South Africa defeats West Indies 2-0 at home, they risk falling behind South Africa. Therefore, even with a 1-0 series victory or a 2-2 tie (24 points), India will remain in front of South Africa, but not with a 1-1 draw (20 points).
So South Africa still have a chance?
South Africa’s hopes have been harmed by the 2-0 loss in Australia, but the draw in a Sydney game marred by rain proved helpful. They presently have a 48.72% winning percentage and may reach 55.56% if they defeat the West Indies in both of their home tests.
South Africa must win both of their games to advance to the championship, Sri Lanka must only manage one victory in New Zealand, at best, and India must score fewer than 21 points.
Can Sri Lanka make the final?
Yes, Sri Lanka, who is now third, has a chance. They will reach 61.11% if they sweep New Zealand away from their base. In that situation, they would require either a 4-0 victory by India against Australia, a tie in the series, or Australia winning the series in order to finish ahead of India.
Sri Lanka will finish with 52.78% if the series ends with a tie. In order for them to qualify with that percentage, India must lose the series to Australia (3-1 or 1-0 loss), and South Africa must get no more than 16 points (1-0 series win).