The race to the final of the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship has finally ended with India and New Zealand qualifying for the final. The ICC World Test Championship final is supposed to be held in June 2021 at Lord’s Cricket Ground, which is also known as the Home of Cricket for its long and illustrious history of involvement with the game.
New Zealand had sealed its berth in the World Test Championship final back in January and thus there was only one spot open for the rest of the teams to fight for. Three teams were in the reckoning for qualifying to the finals – India, England, and Australia. India qualified to the final after defeating England in the fourth Test of the Anthony de Mello Trophy 2020-21 by an innings and 25 runs.
The race to the World Test final
The preceding test matches were of utmost importance to Australia, India and England to qualify for the World Test Championship final. The last test series between India and England, which concluded on the 6th of March 2021 was particularly important because both the teams had started the series with the hopes of making it to the final. They had to win the series to qualify for the finals and thus beat Australia’s standing at 69.17 percentage points.
For India, a 2-1 defeat would be good enough but it suffered an early setback after losing the very first match of the series. This meant that India could not afford to lose in any of the remaining three matches. Australia and England were still in the fray for qualifying till then. The team stayed true to its goals and all the following matches of the test series were marked by wins. Before the beginning of the last test, many of the fans of Australian cricket were hopeful that their team would qualify to the finals as India’s loss meant the selection of Australia to the remaining berth of the World Test Championship final. India now stands at the top of the rankings with 72.2 percentage points in its kitty.
India in the World Test final
Team India has finally been able to qualify for the World Test Championship finals after a long struggle throughout the past few months. The pandemic has been hard on everyone and players have struggled in various capacities while living in the COVID-19 bio-bubbles. The Indian spinner have been the architects of India’s wins in this series.
All the matches have been played on dusty, turning tracks and Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel, two of the premier spinners of India, have dominated almost every match. Ashwin, a veteran member of the Indian team, has reached the milestone of 400 test wickets in this series, and Axar Patel has also been phenomenal. The latter picked up 11 wickets in the second last match of the series and nine wickets in the last match, including a five-wicket haul. Ashwin on the other hand picked up eight wickets in the course of the match including five wickets in the last innings of the match.
IND vs ENG – 4th Test Results
England won the toss and decided to bat first but its innings ended at 205, with Ben Stokes scoring a half-century. India, riding on Rishabh Pant’s century and Washington Sundar’s unbeaten 96, was able to put up 365 runs on the board. England failed to catch up on the runs it was trailing India by and got all out at 135. The highest score in the last innings was 50, which was scored by Dan Lawrence. None of the other batsmen could score anything significant runs. The star player and captain of the English team, Joe Root was also not able to score anything significant in the course of the match.
The Indian spinners in both innings, and dismantled the English batting order easily. The match ended on its third day. Even the last match had ended in two days and was the shortest test match that has been played in a long time
India currently is the highest-ranked cricket team in the world with 520 points, 12 wins, four losses, and a draw. New Zealand is trailing India 420 points. This includes seven wins and four losses. Australia is at the third spot with 330 points but is out of contention for the World Test Championship final. India and New Zealand have been known for having a long and illustrious history of rivalry and one only hopes to see more of it in the final.