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India tops ICC World Test Championship following Australia's win over New Zealand

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Wellington | March 3, 2024 12:24:58 PM IST
The two-time finalists India have ascended to the pole position in the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 standings as New Zealand slipped to number two following their Wellington defeat to Australia in the first Test. Before the start of the Wellington Test, New Zealand was sitting at the top of the table with 36 points in four games and a points percentage of 75.

Following their massive 172-run defeat, the 2021 WTC champions lost the top spot, slipping to the No.2 position with a points percentage of 60, with three wins and two losses loss.

India, who were at second spot with 62 points in 8 matches, replaced them at the top with a stronger points percentage of 64.58. The Asian giants currently have won five matches, lost two and drawn one.

Australia, meanwhile, further consolidated their number three spot with a brilliant win over the Blackcaps, well scripted by their ace spinner Nathan Lyon's six-wicket haul in the fourth innings on Day four.

The defending champions, Aussies remain in the third position, gaining 12 crucial points with the win in Wellington, taking their points tally from 66 to 78. Australia has won seven matches, lost three and drawn one.

Their points percentage has also increased from 55 to now 59.09. The 2023 champions have the opportunity to surpass New Zealand and move up to the second spot if they win the second and final Test of the ongoing series against their Trans-Tasman rivals.

Australia can also climb to to the top spot if England beat India in the Dharamsala Test which starts from March 7 in Dharamshala. India currently leads this series 3-1 with a game to go.

The Trans-Tasman rivals, on the other hand, will next meet in Christchurch, with the final Test set to commence on March 8.

Coming to the first Test, NZ was set 369 runs to win the Test. Reduced to 59/3 at once, Kiwis fought back with the help of a fifty from Rachin Ravindra (59 in 105 balls, with eight fours and a six) and his 67-run knock with Daryl Mitchell (38 in 130 balls, with two fours). But Nathan Lyon ran through the middle order and lower order, bundling out Kiwis for just 196 runs. Lyon took 6/65 while Josh Hazlewood got two wickets. Travis Head and Green got a wicket each.

In their second innings, Australia took a 368-run lead and was bundled out for 164. Besides Lyon, who was surprisingly the top-scorer with 41 runs, Cameron Green (34), Travis Head (29) and Usman Khawaja (28) posted decent scores.

Glenn Phillips (5/45) was the pick of the bowlers for the Kiwis. Matt Henry (3/36) and Tim Southee (2/46) were also among the wickets.

Australia earlier had a 204-run lead in the first innings, bundling out Kiwis for 179 in their first innings. Kiwis were struggling at 29/5 at one point, but a fighting effort from middle/lower order, Phillips (71 in 70 balls, with 13 fours), Matt Henry (42 in 34 balls, with three fours and four sixes) and wicketkeeper-batter Tom Blundell (33 in 43 balls, with three fours) helped Kiwis give Aussies a fight.

Nathan Lyon (4/43) was the pick of the bowlers for the Aussies. Josh Hazlewood took two wickets while skipper Pat Cummins, Mitchell Marsh and Mitchell Starc got a wicket each.

Put to bat first after the Kiwis won the toss, Australia was once reeling at 211/7, but a fantastic knock from all-rounder Cameron Green (174* in 275 balls, with 23 fours and five fours) and his 116-run tenth wicket partnership with Josh Hazlewood (22) helped Australia score 383.

Henry (5/70) registered a five-wicket haul for Kiwis. William O'Rourke and Scott Kuggeleijn also took two wickets for Kiwis.

Green was given the 'Player of the Match' award for his all-round performance in the game. (ANI)

 
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