Team India qualifies for WTC final against Australia in June after New Zealand beat Sri Lanka

by IANS |

Ahmedabad, March 13 (IANS) India have qualified for the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final of the 2021-23 cycle at The Oval starting from June 7, after New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by two wickets in a thrilling last-ball win at the Hagley Oval on Monday.

Sri Lanka was the other team in contention for a spot in the WTC final. But now after losing the first Test to New Zealand by two wickets, it has cleared the path for India to go into the final and meet Australia in the summit clash.

With the Ahmedabad Test now heading towards a draw, Sri Lanka needed to beat New Zealand 2-0 in the two-match Test series to qualify. But rain in Christchurch took an entire session away in their quest to defend 284 runs against the Blackcaps.

Kane Williamson's unbeaten 121, and backed by Daryl Mitchell's outstanding 81 handed New Zealand a thrilling win and also ensured that India will meet Australia in the WTC final at The Oval from June 7-11, nine days after the end of IPL 2023.

Taking a 2-1 series lead in the opening three of four Border-Gavaskar Trophy Tests at home against Australia proved to be enough for Rohit Sharma's side to clinch their spot in the WTC final.

But the icing on the cake to confirm their WTC final spot was to avoid defeat in the ongoing fourth Test at Ahmedabad, which is heading towards an inevitable draw. With Sri Lanka's defeat to New Zealand, Rohit Sharma's men cannot drop below second position in the WTC points table.

India began their WTC campaign for the 2021-23 cycle in England, taking a 2-1 lead in their series against Joe Root's men, before the fifth Test in Manchester was postponed until July 2022 due to Covid.

They would go on to lose the fifth Test match in Birmingham, though series wins against New Zealand, Sri Lanka at home, followed by an away series victory over Bangladesh set up their charge to the WTC final.

Their Border-Gavaskar Trophy series win sets up a final against Australia on neutral ground at The Oval in London, with the winner claiming the World Test Championship mace. India lost the inaugural World Test Championship final to New Zealand in 2021, as Kane Williamson's side chased down a target of 139 in Southampton.

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