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World Test Championship

What India, South Africa, Australia and Sri Lanka need to qualify for the World Test Championship final

The captains of India, Australia, Sri Lanka and South Africa, the four countries in the race for the World Test Championship final
Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner
@Ben_Wisden 4 minute read

After a packed December schedule, the Test cricket calendar has entered a lull, with the World Test Championship on pause for a month.

Between November 30 and January 8, 12 Tests were played, with every World Test Championship side barring Sri Lanka in action. The next Test scheduled to be played is in early February, between West Indies and Zimbabwe, while the next WTC series is the hotly anticipated clash between India and Australia, doing battle for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

With the dust settled, it is becoming clearer who is likely to contest next summer’s World Test Championship final at The Oval, with four teams in realistic contention.


As a reminder, the World Test Championship table is ranked by points won per points contested (PCT), so not all wins are equal.

Who needs what to qualify for the World Test Championship final


Australia have lost just one Test in the ongoing World Test Championship cycle, and are heavy favourites to qualify for the final. Even a 3-0 defeat to India would see them qualify for the final, while if they do lose 4-0, they will still be assured of a place in the showpiece clash unless Sri Lanka beat New Zealand 2-0 in New Zealand.


India also have their fate in their own hands, but have far less margin for error, with a defeat in South Africa, a drawn series in England, and a draw in a home Test against New Zealand counting against them. If they win 3-1 or better, they will be assured of a place in the final. But even a 2-0 win would see them at risk of elimination, should Sri Lanka beat New Zealand 2-0. Any sort of series win, or a 2-2 draw, would see them clear South Africa’s highest possible points tally, but anything less would leave them needing West Indies to do them a favour.

India-Australia possible PCT tallies

India 4-0 Australia – India 68.06, Australia 59.65
India 3-0 Australia – India 64.35, Australia 61.40
India 3-1 Australia – India 62.50, Australia 64.91
India 2-0 Australia – India 60.65, Australia 63.16
India 2-1 Australia – India 58.80, Australia 66.67
India 2-2 Australia – India 56.94, Australia 70.18
India 1-0 Australia – India 56.94, Australia 64.91
India 1-1 Australia – India 55.09, Australia 68.42
India 1-2 Australia – India 53.24, Australia 71.93
India 1-3 Australia – India 51.39, Australia 75.44
India 0-0 Australia – India 53.24, Australia 66.67
India 0-1 Australia – India 51.39, Australia 70.18
India 0-2 Australia – India 49.54, Australia 73.68
India 0-3 Australia – India 47.69, Australia 77.19
India 0-4 Australia – India 45.83, Australia 80.70

Sri Lanka

For Sri Lanka, the task is simple: win 2-0 in New Zealand, and hope Australia either get completely smashed by India or put up a decent fight. If India get beaten by Australia, a 1-0 win might be enough, though if South Africa beat West Indies 2-0, the two sides will be level on points.

Sri Lanka possible PCT tallies

New Zealand 2-0 Sri Lanka – 44.44
New Zealand 1-0 Sri Lanka – 47.22
New Zealand 1-1 Sri Lanka – 52.78
New Zealand 0-0 Sri Lanka – 50.00
New Zealand 0-1 Sri Lanka – 55.56
New Zealand 0-2 Sri Lanka – 61.11

South Africa

Dean Elgar’s side aren’t out of contention, but they need several results to go their way. They need Sri Lanka not to win 2-0 in New Zealand, and for Australia to beat India, or for the series to end 1-1 or 0-0. And of course, they need to beat West Indies 2-0, no certainty given their recent struggles: South Africa are without a win in five Tests.

South Africa-West Indies possible PCT tallies

South Africa 2-0 West Indies – South Africa 55.56, West Indies 34.62
South Africa 1-0 West Indies – South Africa 51.11, West Indies 37.18
South Africa 1-1 West Indies – South Africa 48.89, West Indies 42.31
South Africa 0-0 West Indies – South Africa 46.67, West Indies 39.74
South Africa 0-1 West Indies – South Africa 44.44, West Indies 44.87
South Africa 0-2 West Indies – South Africa 42.22, West Indies 50.00

Is anyone else in contention for the World Test Championship final?

Mathematically, England and West Indies are not yet eliminated. If Australia beat India 4-0, New Zealand beat Sri Lanka 2-0, and South Africa-West Indies finishes 0-0 or 1-0 to the tourists, England will make the final, with their PCT at 46.97 having finished their World Test Championship schedule. For West Indies, they must win 2-0, but in that case, a 2-0 win for Australia and a 1-0 win for New Zealand would be enough for them to make the final. Bangladesh and Pakistan have finished their World Test Championship schedules with tallies of 11.11 PCT and 38.10, below England’s, and below the minimums of South Africa, Sri Lanka and Australia, and so are out of contention. With a 2-0 win over Sri Lanka, New Zealand would reach 38.46, again below each of those four teams.

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