World Test Championship 2021-23 Rewind: A Look Back At Records And Unforgettable Moments Of Test Cricket

The ICC World Test Championship (WTC) 2021-23 cycle witnessed two years of enthralling cricket action among nine Test cricket-playing nations. As many as 57 out of 69 Tests produced results and only 12 matches ended in draws, proving that ICC’s idea of adding context to the longest format with the World Test Championship turned out to be a masterstroke.

The Ultimate Test

Australia got their hands on the WTC Trophy by getting the better of India in the WTC 2021-23 final, also known as the Ultimate Test.

Led by Travis Head’s 163 and Steve Smith’s 121, Australia posted 469 in their first innings and managed to bowl out India for 296. Australia declared their second innings at 270/8 and dismissed India for 234, courtesy of three-wicket hauls each from Nathan Lyon and Scott Boland. Australia won by 209 runs to win their ninth ICC trophy.

The victory made Australia the sole team with each major ICC trophy in their cabinet: five ODI World Cups (now six), two ODI Champions Trophies, one T20 World Cup and the World Test Championship.

WTC 2021-23 points table

At the end of the championship cycle, the teams’ standings saw Australia atop the WTC points table with 152 points and a 66.67% points percentage, followed by India with 127 points and a 58.8% percentage – the two teams with the highest percentage of wins qualified for the final.

South Africa (55.56%), England (46.97%), Sri Lanka (44.44%), New Zealand (38.46%), Pakistan (38.10%), West Indies (34.62%) and Bangladesh (11.11%) finished the 2021-23 WTC cycle in respective order.

The arrival of Bazball

England’s aggressive play introducing the ‘Bazball’ style to Test cricket took the world by storm. Captain Ben Stokes was at the forefront of the ‘Bazball’ strategy, striking 28 sixes in the two-year cycle from 32 innings.

During the Rawalpindi Test in December 2022, England achieved their highest team total of 657 runs against Pakistan in only 101 overs at a run rate of 6.50 per over. This match witnessed a staggering total of 1,768 runs, setting a new record for the highest combined runs scored in a five-day Test.

In contrast, Bangladesh were bundled out for 53 by South Africa at Durban in March 2022 – the lowest total in the championship cycle.

Top run-scorers

England’s Joe Root emerged as the leading run-scorer with 1,915 runs at an average of 53.19, boasting eight centuries from 22 matches. Australia’s Usman Khawaja (1621 runs) and Marnus Labuschagne (1576) came second and third.

Top wicket-takers

In bowling, Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon topped the charts with 83 wickets, followed by Kagiso Rabada (South Africa) with 67 wickets and Ravichandran Ashwin (India) with 61 wickets.

The championship also witnessed 85 five-wicket hauls (per innings) and ten 10-wicket hauls (per match) by bowlers.

Notable victories

Notable victories included New Zealand’s win by an innings and 276 runs over South Africa in February 2022 at Christchurch. West Indies’ one-wicket victory against Pakistan at Kingston in August 2021 was the narrowest margin of victory.

Individual brilliance

Inaugural champions New Zealand had a poor show in the 2021-23 cycle but Kiwis did produce some noteworthy individual performances. Tom Latham’s 252 against Bangladesh stood out as the top score while Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls stitched the highest partnership of 363 runs against Sri Lanka. Ajaz Patel’s remarkable 10-wicket haul for New Zealand against India at Mumbai set records for the best innings and match figures in the championship cycle.

In the Test match against Sri Lanka at Mohali in March 2022, India’s Ravindra Jadeja achieved a unique feat as the sole player to both score a century and claim a five-wicket haul. He crafted an unbeaten 175 with the bat and also bagged five wickets for 41 runs in the same match.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam (1527), who played just 14 matches, was the fourth highest run-scorer. His best of 196 came in the second innings against Australia and helped his team save the Karachi Test.

The ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 showcased remarkable cricketing moments which culminated with an exciting final between Australia and India at The Oval, England.

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