Cummins Rohit Sharma
Captains: Pat Cummins of Australia and Rohit Sharma of India. The Indians won the last series between the two teams, but the Oval offers drastically different conditions that give Australia the edge. Image Credit: Reuters

India and Australia face off in the World Test Championship final at the Kennington Oval in London on June 7 (Wednesday).

Australia qualified topped the WTC points table to qualify for the final. India’s 2-1 victory over Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Test series helped them reach the final.

Here’s a look at the International Cricket Council’s Test World Cup, its origins and the route to the final.

What is the World Test Championship?

It is a tournament played every two years with the aim of crowning world champions in Test cricket. Bilateral cricket series form the league phase, and the top two teams on the points ta-ble contest the final.

How many teams took part in the tournament?

Nine of the 12-Test playing nations compete in the event. They are India, Australia, England, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa and West Indies. Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe are not part of the tournament.

What’s the format of the tournament?

Each team played three home and three away series in the current cycle. They are awarded 12 points for a Test win, four for a draw and none for a loss. The ranking is determined by the percentage of points won. The two top teams play in a final at the end of the two years.

What are the origins of the championship?

According to reports, the idea for a Test world cup was proposed in 2009 following discus-sions between the International Cricket Council and Marylebone Cricket Club. The plan was approved the following year, but the championship could only be scheduled for 2017. More delay followed before it kicked off in 2019.

Who are the reigning champions?

New Zealand were crowned world Test champion at the end of the inaugural 2019-21 cycle. They defeated India in the final at Southampton.

Who will play the WTC 2021-23 final?

India and Australia will meet in the WTC final at the Oval, London, from June 7.

Is there a reserve day?

The final will have a reserve day on June 12 if required. It will be used only if lost playing time from the scheduled five days could not be made up due to bad weather.

The reserve day was used in the 2021 final between New Zealand and India after the first and fourth days were washed out.

What happens if the WTC final ends in a draw or tie?

Both finalists will be adjudged joint champions.

What’s the prize money?

The winners will walk away with $1.6 million, and the runners-up will get $800,000.

How did India and Australia qualify for the final?

Australia topped the table to book their spot in the final, while India claimed the second berth after New Zealand denied Sri Lanka the chance to move up the standings with a last-ball win.

WTC table
Image Credit: Gulf News

What’s Australia’s route to the final?

Australia beat England 4-0 in 2021-22 and followed it with wins in four of five Tests against West Indies and South Africa. The team led by Pat Cummins beat Pakistan 1-0, drew 1-1 with Sri Lanka and lost to India 2-1. Australia finished with a percentage of 66.7.

How did India reach the final?

India drew England 2-2 in a series split by COVID through 2021 and 2022. A 2-1 loss in South Africa was followed by 2-0 wins over Bangladesh and Sri Lanka before thrusting a 1-0 defeat on New Zealand. The 2-1 win in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy India buoyed their chances, while New Zealand’s last-ball win extinguished Sri Lanka’s chances. India ended up with a percentage of 58.8.

What’s their recent head-to-head record?

2021: India won by three wickets (Brisbane)

2023: India won by an innings and 132 runs (Nagpur)

2023: India won by six wickets (Delhi)

2023: Australia won by nine wickets (Indore)

2023: Match drawn (Ahmedabad)

What is the India squad for the WTC final?

Rohit Sharma (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, KS Bharat, Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Ishan Kishan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Axar Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Mohammad Shami, Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadakt and Umesh Yadav.

What is the Australia squad for the WTC final?

Pat Cummins (captain), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Michael Neser, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Josh Inglis, Todd Murphy, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and David Warner.