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India inch closer to WTC Final berth with thumping win over Australia in Nagpur

Nagpur, Feb 11 (IANS) India’s innings and 132-run victory against Australia in the first Test of the four-match series on Saturday has pushed Rohit Sharma’s team closer to a spot in the World Test Championship Final, to be held at The Oval in London from June 7.

With the top two teams in the ICC World Test Championship standings set to secure a place in June’s Final, the victory in Nagpur sees Rohit’s men widen the gap between themselves and the chasing nations with a percentage of 61.67. Consequently, Australia’s defeat sees their tally drop to 70.83%, however they remain top of the table, the ICC informed in a media release on Saturday.

As a result of India’s win, the number of teams that can mathematically qualify for the World Test Championship Final now becomes four. England and the West Indies dropped out of contention, no longer able to reach the percentage required to break into the top two, the release added.

Among the two other contenders remaining in the fray besides Australia and India, Sri Lanka are the next placed team in the standings on 53.33%. They now have to win both their upcoming Tests in New Zealand next month at the same time hoping India to falter in the remaining three matches against Australia to stand a chance of featuring in June’s contest.

South Africa sit in fourth, yet their 48.72% sees them needing not only a whitewash victory over the visiting West Indies, but favourable results elsewhere to give them any hope of taking to the field on 7 June.

“Attention now turns to the next fixture in the World Test Championship calendar, the second India-Australia Test where there is still everything to play for. Another victory for India would see them all but ensure their qualification, while Australia only need to avoid defeat to confirm their place in the Ultimate Test at The Oval on June 7,” the ICC informed.