The inaugural edition of the World Test Championship will reach its climax when India takes on New Zealand in the final beginning June 18.
Featuring nine of the 12 Test-playing nations in the first edition, the World Test Championship began its journey on August 1, 2019, during the Ashes Test at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Over a two-year period, the tournament witnessed a stiff battle for the top two spots with points system changes during the COVID-19 pandemic also playing their part in deciding the top two teams in the tournament.
Here are all the details you need to know before the historic final clash.
When and where will the World Test Championship final take place?
The World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand was initially set to take place at the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground. However, due to COVID-19 concerns and logistical issues, the International Cricket Council (ICC) shifted the final to the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton and will be played between June 18-22.
How did India and New Zealand qualify for the final?
According to the original system, teams were ranked on the basis of points won during each series, with each series consisting of 120 points. However, due to numerous matches being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICC amended the system in November 2020 with points percentage being the deciding factor.
India, who rose to second because of the rule change, qualified for the final by virtue of its 2-1 series win in Australia and 3-1 win over England at home. India topped the charts with 520 points and a leading points percentage of 72.20 percent.
The rule change also meant the Kiwis (420, 70 percent) pipped England (442 points, 61.42 percent) with their superior points percentage. Meanwhile, Australia missed out on the chance to finish second after it was deducted four points due to its slow over rate during the Boxing Day Test against India last December.
India’s journey to the final
West Indies v India – India won 2-0
India v South Africa – India won 3-0
India v Bangladesh – India won 2-0
New Zealand v India – India lost 0-2
Australia v India – India won 2-1
India v England – India won 3-1
India’s World Test Championship cycle involved three overseas tours (the West Indies, New Zealand and Australia) and three series at home against South Africa, Bangladesh and England. Interestingly, India’s only series loss came on its tour to New Zealand.
New Zealand’s journey to the final
Sri Lanka v New Zealand – Series drawn 1-1
Australia v New Zealand – New Zealand lost 0-3
New Zealand v India – New Zealand won 2-0
New Zealand v West Indies – New Zealand won 2-0
New Zealand v Pakistan – New Zealand won 2-0
Kane Williamson’s men played five series in the World Test Championship and got off to a low start in their away tours to Sri Lanka and Australia. The Kiwis bounced at home with successive wins over India, the West Indies and Pakistan.
Who are the top batsmen in the World Test Championship from both sides?
Ajinkya Rahane: 1,095 runs (matches: 17 matches; highest score: 115, average: 47.25; hundreds: 3; fifties: 6)
Rohit Sharma: 1,030 runs (matches: 11; highest score: 212; average: 64.49; hundreds: 4; fifties: 2)
Virat Kohli: 877 runs (matches: 14; highest score 254*; average: 43.85; hundreds: 2; fifties: 5)
Kane Williamson: 817 runs (matches: 9; highest score: 251; average: 58.35; hundreds: 3; fifties: 1)
Tom Latham: 680 runs (matches: 11: highest score: 154; average: 40; hundreds: 1; fifties: 5)
Who are the top bowlers in the World Test Championship from both sides?
Ravichandran Ashwin: 67 wickets (matches: 13; best bowling in an innings: 7/71; average: 20.88; five-wicket hauls: 4)
Ishant Sharma: 36 wickets (matches: 11, best bowling in an innings: 5/22; average: 17.36, five-wicket hauls: 3)
Mohammed Shami: 36 wickets (matches: 10, best bowling in an innings: 5/35; average: 19.77, five-wicket hauls: 1)
Tim Southee: 51 wickets (matches: 10; best bowling in an innings: 5/32; average: 20.66; five-wicket hauls: 3)
Kyle Jamieson: 36 wickets (matches: 6, best bowling in an innings: 6/48; average: 13.27; five-wicket hauls: 4; 10-wicket matches: 1)
Trent Boult: 34 wickets (matches: 6, best bowling in an innings: 4/28; average: 29.29)
What are the playing conditions for the World Test Championship final?
- India, New Zealand to share title in case of draw or tie.
- The match will be played using Grade 1 Dukes cricket balls.
- The final will also see the implementation of the following changes to international playing conditions that came into effect with the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League series between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka:
- Short Runs – The Third Umpire will automatically review any call of a ‘short run’ by the On-field Umpire and communicate the decision to the On-field Umpire prior to the next ball being bowled.
- Player Reviews – The fielding captain or the dismissed batsman may confirm with the Umpire whether a genuine attempt has been made to play the ball prior to deciding whether to initiate a player review for LBW.
- DRS Reviews – For LBW reviews, the height margin of the Wicket Zone has been lifted to the top of the stumps to ensure the same Umpire’s Call margin around the stumps for both height and width.
What time will the World Test Championship final begin?
The World Test Championship final will begin at 3:30pm IST (11am local time).
Where to watch the World Test Championship final live?
The World Test Championship final will be shown on Star Sports and streamed live on Hotstar.