Dubai March 4 2023: Australia's convincing nine-wicket triumph over India in the third Test has helped them book a place at this year's ICC World Test Championship Final, but just who joins them in the decider remains wide open.
Australia have been the dominant side during this World Test Championship period (2021-23), with Pat Cummins' side having won 11 of the 18 Tests they have featured in.
Their latest triumph came on the back of a superb bowling performance from veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who collected 11 wickets for the match to more than make up for the unexpected absence of Cummins due to family reasons.
While batting collapses for Australia throughout the series might have made for a nervy run chase, especially after Usman Khawaja fell for a duck in the second innings, Travis Head (49*) and Marnus Labuschagne (28*) steered them to the stirring win.
That victory has helped Australia amass an impressive 68.52 of their possible WTC points and that means they will finish the current period in first place on the World Test Championship standings regardless of the result in the final Test of their ongoing series against India.
While India hold on to second place on the standings with 60.29 of their possible WTC points and are in the box seat to qualify for the one-off Test at The Oval in June, they can still be overtaken by Sri Lanka should results go against Rohit Sharma's side over the coming weeks.
A victory in the fourth Test against Australia in Ahmedabad will ensure India's spot in the WTC Final, but another victory for the visitors or a draw will leave the door open for Sri Lanka to overtake Rohit's side and snatch the last spot.
Sri Lanka have two Tests to play away from home against New Zealand this month and know they have to complete a 2-0 series sweep over the Kiwis to have any chance of snatching a spot in the WTC Final.
Remaining ICC World Test Championship Fixtures
South Africa v West Indies (Second Test) – Johannesburg, South Africa, 8-12 March
New Zealand v Sri Lanka (First Test) – Christchurch, New Zealand, 9-13 March
India v Australia (Fourth Test) – Ahmedabad, India, 9-13 March
New Zealand v Sri Lanka (Second Test) – Wellington, New Zealand, 17-21 March