The Indian cricket team’s 10-wicket loss in the first Test match against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, saw the side endure a maiden defeat in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship.
India, who are the number one ranked side in the world, is expected to make it to the top two and qualify for the finale.
However, the threat of losing the series against New Zealand makes things more interesting as far as the Test Championship table is concerned.
The manner in which India played in Wellington saw the side get thumped with the Kiwi bowlers going on a rampage.
The Test carried 60 points and New Zealand accepted the same with glee. The second Test is set to start from February 29 onwards and India will be on the back foot.
The return of Neil Wagner is something that will boost the Kiwis further after their famed pace attack did wonders at the Basin Reserve.
India has everything to play for at the Hagley Oval and the focus will be to earn crucial points and enhance their chances further. If India loses the series, then Australia and England will be the happier sides.
When you look at the World Test Championship schedule, India’s next assignments will be against Australia (away) and England (home).
There are nine Tests on offer here. 30 points per Test will be available against the Aussies, whereas, 24 points per match is set to dictate the show against Joe Root’s England. Each series carries 120 points.
Here we analyze how the World Test Championship will go down the wire with these three teams being the main contenders.
Here’s the ICC World Test Championship table – 2019-21
What India needs to do in the World Test Championship?
For India, they have to earn a victory in the second Test versus the Kiwis and breach the 400-point mark. Going to Australia next won’t be easy.
Last time, India went on to overcome Australia 2-1 in the historical 2018-19 series. However, the return of Steve Smith, David Warner and the presence of Marnus Labuschange could blunt the Indian bowlers.
India will need to be at their absolute best and at least try winning a few Tests if not the series.
With 30 points a Test on offer, the real target will be to get hold of the same and then see how the series pans out. It is expected to be a fiercely fought series in 2020-21.
Post that Kohli’s men will take on England in 2021.
India and England will be involved in a five-Test affair. India has done remarkably well at home but England cannot be ruled out.
They are doing well as a unit and will take the game to a top-level against the Indians. Team India will be eying a series win in what could be a decider between the two sides.
Why Australia can finish atop the World Test Championship table?
Australia has done well under skipper Tim Paine of late. Post the 2018-19 Test series loss against India, the Aussies have dominated the show.
They started their World Test Championship journey with a 2-2 affair in the Ashes 2019. Australia earned 56 points from the series in England.
The summer started off on a strong note for the Aussies. They blanked Pakistan 2-0 and then inflicted a 3-0 whitewash upon the Kiwis.
Their ruthlessness saw them claim 240 points in a quick span of time. Australia face Bangladesh next away from home. It will be a crucial series for Paine and his men.
If they manage to come out with something from the series, then things will light up further for the side.
The four-Test series against India is something the Aussies will relish. After dismantling teams like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and NZ here in recent times, there will be an added sense of belief.
This will be Australia’s final home series and points are there for the taking. Their last battle will be against South Africa in a three-match series in 2021.
Australia may have lost against SA back in 2-18 in the ill-fated tour, however, there is a stark contrast and gap between the two sides now.
This is the reason why Aussies could end up topping the show.
How Can England stake a claim as well?
England fought hard in the Ashes 2019 and earned a respectable 2-2 draw. Like Australia, the side picked up 56 points.
The Joe Root-led side needed to win away from home against South Africa and despite going 1-0 down, they fought back heavily to clinch the series by a 3-1 margin. The win gave England 90 points.
The Three Lions have four more series to go in the World Test Championship. They face a stern test against Sri Lanka next month in a two-match affair.
That’s another series England will have their eyes upon. Crucial points won here will boost their chances ahead of a three-match series at home against West Indies.
England also has a three-match series against Pakistan this year at home. One expects the side to do well against West Indies and Pakistan in these home Tests and gain maximum points.
Their last series is against India. England will, therefore, look for the maximum up till the India Tests and be in the mix for a top-two finish.
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