Cricket: How Blackcaps can advance to world test championship final

The Blackcaps are in a strong position to clinch a spot in the inaugural world test championship final, currently scheduled for Lord's in June.

New Zealand have retained their spot at the top of the ICC test rankings and moved into second in the ICC world test championship standings, after India's stunning series-clinching victory against Australia on Tuesday.

The tourists snuck home late to clinch a famous victory at the Gabba to advance to the top of the standings, dropping Australia below the Blackcaps and into third.

With no tests remaining before the final, the Blackcaps are completely reliant on other results going their way to book their ticket.

All NZ eyes now turn to Australia's upcoming tour of South Africa at the end of February, which is looking increasingly likely to proceed, despite COVID-19 complications.

The Aussies need at least two wins and a draw from the three-test series to deny the Blackcaps.

Essentially, one South Africa win would be enough to clinch the Blackcaps spot in the WTC final, which they've managed the last four times Australia have toured.

Should the tour be cancelled, NZ's final berth would be secured.

If South Africa can't get that all-important lone win for NZ, the Blackcaps' chances will then hinge on England's four-test tour of India in February.

New Zealand would need England to to win at least twice, to win once while also drawing at least once, or to force three draws to advance.

But if England are able to win the second test against Sri Lanka to take that series 2-0, then win either 3-0 or 4-0 in India, the Blackcaps would need both of the above scenarios to happen.

Current ICC world test championship standings:

  1. India 71.7 percent of points won 

  2. New Zealand 70 

  3. Australia 69.2

  4. England 65.2