World Test Championship Why Australia are 4th despite Ashes-retaining victory in Manchester

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Ashes is arguably considered the biggest cricketing event when it comes to the longest format of the game. Tradition, history and the weight of expectations make it a compelling watch, more often than not,

Ashes 2019 has lived up to the expectations as Australia and England have fought hard and come up with some high-quality, extremely viewer-friendly Test cricket over the last 40 days.

Australia retained the Ashes Urn by taking an unbeatable 2-1 lead after a thriller in Manchester on Sunday. Tim Paine’s men became the first visiting side since Steve Waugh’s side to retain the Ashes on English soil thanks to Steve Smith’s glorious run of form in England.

Australia have retained the Ashes as early as the 4th Test but there will be a lot to play for in the 5th and final Test of Ashes 2019 in Oval, London. England captain Joe Root said the hosts will come out with the same intensity they have had so far in Oval and pointed that crucial World Test Championship points are at stake.

“We’ve seen some wonderful Test cricket and the same will be at The Oval – we want to level the series and there’s the Test Championship,” Joe Root had said.

Despite all the highs Australia have managed in Ashes 2019, they are fourth on World Test Championship table behind India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

In fact, Australia and India have clinched 2 wins each so far in the WTC but India are well ahead with 120 points while Tim Paine’s men have only 56 points.

Sri Lanka and New Zealand won 1 Test each in the drawn 2-match series last month and they are at the 2nd and 3rd spots of the WTC table with 60 points each.

It is safe to say the points system of World Test Championship is flawed as it offers 120 points for every Test series played in the inaugural cycle between 2019 and 2021. Moreover, in the inaugural edition of WTC, no weightage is given to wins away from home.

For example, a win in either of the Tests of the 2-Test series between West Indies and India in August 2019 will award the winner 60 points but the corresponding award for winning an Ashes Test will be 24 points.

Why 120 points for each series in WTC?

Top 9 Test teams will feature in 71 matches played across 27 series over 2 years. The top two teams will then contest in the ICC World Test Championship final in June 2021 at Lord’s, London.

All 9 teams are scheduled to play a total of 6 Test series (3 Home, 3 Away) under the WTC fold meaning that no team will be able to play the rest of the others in the 2-year cycle.

This could mean that teams will end up playing an unequal number of matches.

Yes, but the ICC has tried to balance this by making a total of 120 Championship points being available for every series irrespective of its length.

India will comfortably stay on top of the ICC World Test Championship even if Australia go on to win the final Ashes Test and make it 3-1 against England.

Here’s how the World Test Championship table looks as of September 9, 2019

1. India – 120 points (P – 2, W – 2, L – 0, D – 0)

2. New Zealand – 60 points (P – 2, W – 1, L – 1, D – 0)

3. Sri Lanka – 60 points (P – 2, W – 1, L -1, D – 0)

4. Australia – 56 points (P – 4, W – 2, L – 1, D – 1)

5. England – 32 points (P – 4, W – 1, L – 2, D – 1)

6. West Indies – 0 points (P – 2, W – 0, L -2, D – 0)

Credit: New Delhi

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