AUS-SA 3rd Test ends in a draw: WTC 2021-23 standings
Thanks to the rain gods, the third and final Test between Australia and South Africa ended in a draw. Having won the preceding two contests, the Aussies clinched the series 2-0. Though Australia's Points Percentage (PCT) lowered from 78.57 to 75.56, they continue to lead the ICC World Test Championship standings. Meanwhile, SA's PCT got reduced to 48.72. Here's the updated WTC table.
Here's how the 3rd Test panned out?
The Aussies declared at 475/4 after opting to bat first in Sydney. While Usman Khawaja dazzled with an unbeaten 195, Steve Smith (104) also mustered a ton. In reply, SA could only manage 255 as number-nine batter Keshav Maharaj scored 53. Josh Hazlewood recorded a four-for. AUS skipper Pat Cummins dismissed three batters. Following on, SA were 106/2 at stumps on the final day.
Australia all but through to the WTC final
Australia have all but secured a place in the WTC final. The Aussies will meet India in a four-match away series in their last assignment in the cycle. A draw in one of the games would potentially be enough to ensure Australia a top-two finish. Meanwhile, the Australian side boasts 10 wins, three draws, and a solitary defeat in the ongoing cycle.
Are SA still in the contention for WTC final?
South Africa, who are occupying the fourth spot, have six wins and as many losses (one draw). They are at the mercy of the India-Australia series scoreline to progress to the summit clash. On top of that, the Proteas side needs to whitewash West Indies 2-0 at home in their last assignment in the cycle. SA's chances of going through are slim.
India can clinch a top-two berth
India are occupying the second spot with eight wins (L4 D2). Their PCT reads 58.93 after the five-Test series. The home series against Australia would decide their fate. If India win their remaining four matches or record a 2-0, 3-0, or 3-1 win over Australia, they will make it their second consecutive WTC final. Their series against Australia will get underway on February 9.
Sri Lanka are in a tight spot
Sri Lanka (53.33) are placed third in the WTC standings. SL have tasted five wins, four losses, and a draw across five series. They will conclude their 2021-23 cycle on the New Zealand tour (two matches). The Lankans can reach a maximum PCT of 61.9. Like SA, SL would also need Australia to beat India in the Test series.
England finish their WTC run on a positive note
England had a run to remember as they bettered their PCT to 46.97 in the concluded Pakistan tour. They even jumped to the fifth spot in the WTC standings, with 10 wins, eight losses, and four draws. Their journey ended in the 2021-23 cycle.
What about West Indies and Bangladesh?
West Indies' PCT took a beating from 45 to 40.91 post the drubbing in the second Test against Australia. WI, who are seated sixth, have accumulated four wins, five losses, and two draws across five series. Bangladesh (11.11) lie at the bottom of the pile (W1 L10 D1). The Tigers tasted a 0-2 thrashing against India to conclude their campaign in the 2021-23 cycle.
Pakistan and New Zealand also out of race
Eighth-placed New Zealand improved their PCT from 25.93 to 26.67 after managing a 0-0 draw versus Pakistan. The former ICC WTC winners were long evicted from the race to the final (W2 L6 D2). Pakistan (38.46) were unmoved at the seventh spot after the New Zealand series (W4 L6 D3). They are also out of the WTC final race.