India qualified for the World Test Championship (WTC) 2023 final after New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by two wickets in a pulsating finish to the first Test at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Monday (March 13).
The only way Sri Lanka could have qualified for the WTC final was if they had won both Tests against New Zealand and if India failed to beat Australia in the fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
While the India-Australia Test seems to be heading for a draw on a flat surface, that won’t make much of a difference, as the hosts have qualified for the WTC final at The Oval, with Sri Lanka failing to beat New Zealand in the Christchurch Test.
The result means the Lankans will not be able to finish ahead of India in the ICC WTC table 2021-23.
Having set a challenging target of 285 in Christchurch, New Zealand resumed their second innings on 28-1. They ended up chasing down the target in exactly 70 overs. The Kiwis achieved an incredible win despite a delayed start to Day 5 due to rain. Former captain Kane Williamson scored a superb hundred, remaining unbeaten on 121 off 194, smashing 11 fours and a six.
Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya dismissed Tom Latham (25) and Henry Nicholls (20) to reduce New Zealand to 90-3. However, Williamson and Daryl Mitchell (81 off 86) added 142 for the fourth wicket to set the platform for a memorable chase.
Mitchell’s fine knock ended when he dragged a delivery from Asitha Fernando back onto his stumps. New Zealand lost a few wickets in quick succession towards the end, but Williamson scampered a bye off the last ball to ensure an unforgettable win for his team and WTC final qualification for India.
India to take on Australia in WTC 2023 final
India will face Australia in the 2023 World Test Championship final, which will be played at The Oval from June 7 to 11, with June 12 being the reserve day.
The Aussies confirmed their place in the summit clash after hammering India by nine wickets at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore in the third Test of the ongoing series.
Team India made it to the final of the World Test Championship in 2021 as well but went down to the Kiwis by eight wickets in Southampton. India have not won an ICC event since 2013 when they lifted the Champions Trophy under MS Dhoni.