Last week, the ICC finally confirmed the revised methodology to decide the finalists for the inaugural World Test Championship: the two teams with the highest percentage of points earned from those they contested for would play for the title.
Going by this calculation, Australia are currently on top of the table with 82.2% of total points earned. Their remaining series are at home against India (four Tests) and away in South Africa (three).
India, who are second with 75%, will now play four Tests against England instead of five. That means India have eight Tests remaining in the current cycle, with each win fetching them 30 points, and a draw getting them 10.
Australia obviously have an excellent chance of making the final, but New Zealand will be in the hunt too if they pick up the maximum of 240 points from their two home series against West Indies and Pakistan.
Here is a look at some of the scenarios of where teams will be placed depending on their results.
If New Zealand get the maximum 240 points from their home series, they will get to 70% (420 points out of a maximum of 600). However, if they drop points in any Test, their percentage will fall steeply as both their series consist of two Tests, with 60 points riding on a win. If they win three of the four Tests and draw one, their percentage will drop to 63.3.
If India finish with a 4-4 win-loss result in their eight remaining Tests, they will end up with 66.67% of total points. If they manage a 5-3 scoreline, their percentage will climb to 70.83, which will be marginally ahead of New Zealand’s maximum possible score.
Four wins, two draws and two losses will leave India with a score of 69.44%, marginally below New Zealand’s percentage if they sweep 240 points at home.
If Australia win all four Tests at home against India, they’ll go up to 86.67%. If they lose all three Tests to South Africa (if the series happens), they’ll drop to 69.33%.
England are currently third at 60.83%, but their two remaining series are in Asia, against Sri Lanka and india. Given how difficult it has been to beat India in home conditions recently, England will hope to maximise their points in Sri Lanka – that series is scheduled to take place in January, before England travel to India. If they win both Tests against Sri Lanka and manage a 1-2 result against India, their percentage will be 62.78.
The qualification scenarios will be far clearer in a couple of months’ time when New Zealand would have finished their two home series, and India their tour of Australia.