World Test Championship: India seek to haul in Australia

World Test Championship

Australia will be eager to ward off the challenge of chasing India when they pick up the World Test Championship race in their four-match series.

India are in second place on the World Test Championship table but remain only narrowly ahead of New Zealand and England. Fifth-placed Pakistan are now likely too far back to catch up to the leading pack making the race for the final a four-way affair.

World Test Championship hots up

If New Zealand overcome Pakistan 2-0 in the two-Test series which starts on 26 December, they will finish on 420 points from five series.

That scenario would leave India needing five wins or four wins and three draws out of their last eight Tests, which will include facing Australia away and hosting England for a four-Test series beginning in February 2021. 

Depending on how India’s series against Australia goes and New Zealand’s series against Pakistan goes, Australia could build their lead at number one or make way for the Blak Caps at the top.

The factor that determines the final placings is now percentage points, following a change to the points system announced earlier this year, owing to the disruption of international cricket due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ICC Test rankings

Australia are also on top of the ICC Test rankings with the same three teams in hot pursuit. After New Zealand’s 2-0 series win over the West Indies they have risen to second, less than half a rankings point behind Australia. India could haul both sides in and return to the top during their series in Australia.

India created history when they toured Australia two years ago, claiming the four-match series 2-1 to register the country’s first Test series victory in the country with Virat Kohli the man at the helm. Kohli will only play the first Test of the 2020/21 series as he will jet home on paternal leave shortly after the match in Adelaide.

Vice-captain of India, Ajinkya Rahane believes the tourists have the pace firepower to take on Australia despite the absence of Ishant Sharma.

“We do have a strong attack. We will miss Ishant Sharma, he is a senior fast bowler,” Rahane said. 

“But the guys who are here – Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Mohammad Siraj with Jasprit and Shami – are all experienced and they know how to bowl in these conditions.”