A QUICK GUIDE TO THE WORLD TEST CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
WHAT IS THE WORLD TEST CHAMPIONSHIP?
Teams face six opponents in a two-year cycle. They are awarded 12 points for a Test win, four for a draw and none for a loss. The ladder is determined by a percentage of points won of those available. At the end of the two years, the two top teams play in a final. This is the second edition, with New Zealand beating India in the first in June 2021.
HOW DID AUSTRALIA GET HERE?
Dominance at home all but ensured Australia would qualify for the final. They beat England 4-0 in 2021-22 and then won four of five Tests against West Indies and South Africa last summer. Pat Cummins’ men also emerged from three tours of the subcontinent relatively unscathed, beating Pakistan 1-0, drawing 1-1 with Sri Lanka and losing to India 2-1 to finish with a percentage of 66.7.
WHAT ABOUT INDIA?
A 2-2 draw with England in their COVID-enforced split series across 2021 and 2022, along with a 2-1 loss to South Africa away, left India on the back foot early. But they were able to sweep Bangladesh and Sri Lanka 2-0 and defeat New Zealand 1-0 to set up a shot at qualifying. Their 2-1 win in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, combined with Sri Lanka’s failings in New Zealand, ensured their place at The Oval with a percentage of 58.8.
ENGLAND HAVE BEEN GREAT, WHY AREN’T THEY PLAYING?
The 4-0 Ashes loss in Australia and subsequent defeat to West Indies before ‘Bazball’ took hold effectively killed off England’s chances, combined with heavy over-rate penalties. They won nine of their last 10 in the competition but it still left them fourth on 47 per cent.
HOW MANY DAYS IS THE FINAL?
The match is slated for six days, but like most Tests it will only be played across five. Monday June 12 is being held in reserve, to be enacted if an entire day’s play is washed out.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE MATCH IS DRAWN?
The sides will share the trophy as joint winners of the World Test Championship.
IS THIS THE RIGHT FORMAT?
It is peculiar the ICC mandates every series in the World Test Championship must be a minimum of two Tests but the final is a one-off match. David Warner argued last week the final should be a best-of-three series. However that would be near impossible to fit into the schedule, given all nations would need to keep a month free.
DO AUSTRALIA CARE?
Australia’s players have been adamant this match matters to them, after missing out on the previous final courtesy of an over-rates penalty. Pat Cummins has regularly brought it up as a motivation in recent years, particularly in Tests that would have previously been dead rubbers. Australia have dedicated five days of training solely to this match but there is also an admission from some that it is hard to keep their mind off England and the upcoming Ashes.
(Australian Associated Press)