India has qualified for the World Test Championship 2021–23 final, where they will face Australia for the trophy at The Oval in London starting on June 7, after to New Zealand’s stunning victory against Sri Lanka in Christchurch on Sunday. With this, India has now advanced to consecutive WTC finals after losing to New Zealand in the previous cycle’s summit match.
India and Sri Lanka were in a two-horse fight for the one open slot for the big game by the time they faced off in their final Test of the cycle, against Australia in Ahmedabad. The qualification scenario was a little complicated for Sri Lanka because they needed India to lose or draw in Ahmedabad in addition to winning both of their Test matches in New Zealand. The sort of start India made and their own dominance in the first few days in Christchurch would have raised their aspirations, but the ambition of reaching the final was dashed on a rain-hit Day 5 and a last-ball defeat.
India’s journey in this second cycle of the World Test Championship (WTC) started with the Test series in England in August-September 2021 under the Kohli-Shastri administration, where they won both of their games in London and took a 2-1 series lead before the coronavirus pandemic caused an indefinite postponement of the fifth Test. Rahul Dravid had advanced to fill Ravi Shastri’s vacancy by the time they played the format again—a two-match home series against New Zealand. After a tie in Kanpur, India took the series with a victory in Mumbai.
Due to Australia’s impressive first innings total, which kept Sri Lanka in the game, the hosts also got off to a difficult start in the fourth Test. Nevertheless, that was only true up until the final day in Christchurch was essentially lost to rain, at which point New Zealand successfully chased down their target on the penultimate ball, ensuring India’s qualification.