A rain delay is threatening to curtail Sri Lanka’s chances of a crucial win against New Zealand, while the fourth Test between India and Australia is heading into the final day – we look at what it means for their World Test Championship final hopes.
The race for the second spot in the WTC final has come down to the final three Test matches of the cycle, with Rohit Sharma’s men at present the more likely to punch their tickets, even with Dimuth Karunaratne’s chargers currently playing the first of two Test matches in New Zealand.
Australia secured their spot in the WTC23 final with victory in the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar series, meaning they now wait to learn of their opponents for the June 7 Test at The Oval.
With Sri Lanka eager to take the field after the rain delay at Hagley Oval, and India keen to close out at home, we take a look at the scenarios for the budding pair.
New Zealand and Sri Lanka draw their first Test (or New Zealand win): India progress to the WTC23 final
A draw in the first Test in Christchurch would mean Sri Lanka’s best possible percentage finish in the cycle is 56%, lower than India’s worst possible percentage finish (57%).
Even if India were to lose the fourth Test to Australia in calamitous circumstances, and Sri Lanka won the second Test in Christchurch, it’d be Rohit Sharma’s men to progress to the WTC final.
India win fourth Test against Australia, and Sri Lanka win both Tests in New Zealand: India progress to the WTC23 final
Two wins would put Sri Lanka on 61%, though it’d still fall short of India’s 63% should they find a way to defeat Australia in Ahmedabad.
Australia trail by 88 runs heading into the last day with 10 wickets in hand, though will likely attack looking to level the series 2-2.
Also sweating on the fitness on Usman Khawaja, Australia’s potentially aggressive approach may work in India’s favour, as they hunt for quick wickets on a day five surface.
Sri Lanka win both Test matches in New Zealand, and India draw/lose fourth Test against Australia: Sri Lanka progress to the WTC23 final
Should Sri Lanka take the field in the first Test and miraculously claim the 10 wickets to win on day five in Christchurch, their fate is still not completely in their own hands.
Even before winning the second Test in Wellington, Sri Lanka would have to hope for Australia to either save or win the fourth Test match in Ahmedabad.