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India reach WTC final after Sri Lanka's narrow defeat

By Real11 - Mar 13 2023 298 Views
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India reach WTC final follwing NZ's last ball win against Sri Lanka

India have secured their spot in the World Test Championship 2021-21 final following New Zealand’s incredible last ball win over Sri Lanka in Christchurch on Sunday. Rohit and co will now face Australia for the title at the Oval in London from June 7. With this, India have reached back to back finals in WTC, having advanced to the ultimate clash of the previous cycle where they lost to New Zealand. 

When India advanced to the final of the cycle-against Australia in Ahmedabad- it was a two horse race between them and Sri Lanka for the vacant spot of the big game. The qualification scenario was however a touch complicated for the Lankan lions, as they didn’t just need to win both their Test fixtures against the Kiwis but also for India to either lose or draw in Ahmedabad. 

India’s journey in this second cycle of the WTC commenced with the Test series in England in August-September under the Kohli-Shastri reign, where they emerged victorious in both of their games in London and took a 2-1 lead before the coronavirus pandemic led to an indefinite postponement of the fifth and final test match. Then they played a two match home series against New Zealand- Rahul Dravid served as an interim coach following Shastri stepping down from the head coach position. He (Dravid) was later appointed as the full time head coach of Team India. India won that mini series with a win in Mumbai followed by a draw in Kanpur. 

India’s next hurdle was the South Africa tour. A first innings century from KL Rahul and an impressive bowling performance set India’s win in the series opener. But SA bounced back well in the subsequent game and drew level with a win in Johannesburg. With the series evenly poised at 1-1, both sides were expected to come hard in the final game. However, the visitors failed to rise to the occasion and courtesy a clinical performance from the hosts suffered a loss in the third match. Dean Elger’s side completed a come from behind series victory against one of the formidable test units. 

After a disappointing outing in SA, India hosted Sri Lanka for a two match series. This was also Rohit’s first assignment as Test Skipper. He did reasonably well and led India to an emphatic 2-0 win. Ravindra Jadeja was the chief architect of the cleansweep. He scored a career-best 175 and picked a fifer in the first innings of the opening test. Brimming with confidence India departed to England after the Ind T20 League to play the postponed contest. The visitors took the field with an eye on the big away series win. But that was not the case as England pulled off a huge fourth innings chase with tons from Joe Root and Johnny Bairstow. 

India ended 2022 on a high with a 2-0 victory in Bangladesh. Shubhman Gill registered his maiden Test century and Kuldeep Yadav claimed eight wickets across the two innings in India’s 188 run win. Mehidy Hasan, who was the leading wicket taker in the series at one stage looked to run away with the game and level the series in the second fixture but failed to close off the game. At 74/7, India looked second favourites to win the game but Shreyas Iyer and Ravichandran Ashwin had other plans. The duo stitched together a match winning partnership and made sure India reach beyond the finishing line without any further hiccups 

India started 2023 brightly with sights firmly set on securing a place in the WTC final. They took giant strides towards that endeavour with wins over the Kangaroos in Nagpur and Delhi where the visitors surrendered against spinners. But Steve Smith’s Australia in the absence of Pat Cummins fought back in Indore as India paid the price for their batting incompetence. 

The hosts began the final test on wobbly grounds as Australia mounted a big first innings score, keeping Sri Lanka in contention. But that was only until rain took away almost half of the final day in Christchurch before New Zealand chased down the  target on the final ball of the day, sealing India’s spot in the WTC final.  

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